• Opposition for I-77 tolls holds summit

    By: Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    CORNELIUS, N.C. - People against the Interstate 77 toll lane project left Monday's toll lane summit with renewed energy against the controversial express lane project.
     
    In a three-hour meeting, lawmakers, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials and people who oppose toll lanes hammered through details of the express lane project and a contract with the company selected to build the lanes, Cintra.
     
    Rep. Charles Jeter called for the summit and said in the coming days lawmakers will be writing a letter to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization calling on the board to bring the I-77 toll lanes up for a vote.

    PAST COVERAGE: Construction underway on controversial I-77 toll lane project
     
    "The door is open for the (Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization) to study the plan," NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson said. "They can see what they want for the future and decide if they want that plan."

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     Despite NCDOT officials saying they need the CRTPO's disapproval first, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett said the contract stipulates Gov. Pat McCrory can cancel the project at any time.

    McCrory has previously refused calls to do so. 

    Sen. Jeff Tarte told Channel Nine he feels more optimistic about the project's cancellation than he did before. He said the next step is for the CRTPO to vote on it again.
     
    Previous votes on the I-77 tolls have been tied to other transportation projects.
     
    The CRTPO is comprised of area lawmakers from Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties. Charlotte City Council member Vi Lyles holds the majority of the power, with 31 of the CRTPO's 68 votes.
     
    Lyles didn't attend Monday's summit and didn’t return Channel 9’s request asking why.
     
    Tarte is confident the information will get to her and said he is receiving information that the Charlotte City Council may direct her vote.
     
    The Mecklenburg County commissioners directed their CRTPO representative's vote on a transportation plan this summer that included the I-77 tolls project.

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