by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:
CORNELIUS, N.C. - Drivers who are familiar with congestion on Interstate 77 packed into a town hall in Cornelius Thursday evening. A grass roots group known as Widen I-77 led the meeting and addressed concerns over North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan to fix the traffic problem.
Last month, Channel 9 reported when NCDOT signed a deal with a company called Cintra to build high occupancy toll lanes on I-77 from uptown to Mooresville.
Taxpayers will pay $88 million for the project. Cintra would pay nearly a half-billion dollars and collect the tolls.
Drivers told Channel 9 Thursday evening they don’t like the plan. During the meeting, many people expressed concerns they couldn’t afford the tolls and traffic would still be congested.
NCDOT said it has yet to determine how much the tolls will cost. A spokesperson said that it wouldn’t be determined until the lanes were already constructed.
“That’s like buying a house without knowing what your mortgage will be,” said one leader of Widen I-77. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Many of those drivers made donations to the cause and signed post cards to send to Gov. Pat McCrory asking for his support on a state House bill that would let drivers vote before any toll road is built.