State and local leaders meet over I-77 toll project

by: Jenna Deery Updated:


CORNELIUS, N.C. - People in Cornelius faced off with state transportation officials Monday night over a controversial toll road project on Interstate 77.
Channel 9 found it could cost up to $21 to use the lanes during rush hour.
Cornelius commissioners were tough on the  North Carolina Department of Transportation representative who was updating them on the project that has caused local and state leaders to question if the state is doing the right thing.
Many people came out to the meeting in Cornelius to speak their mind about the state's plan to give drivers a faster option to commute between Mooresville and uptown Charlotte.
They want to know what it will cost to use the lanes and if taxpayers will bail out the Spanish company Cintra if it defaults on loans borrowed to build the lanes.
Reports in other states show the company is having problems making its payments.
A DOT official said Monday that taxpayers would not have the burden of a bailout and the average trip will cost $2 to $3 on their commute.
DOT believes the lanes are the best option to manage traffic on I-77 instead of waiting for state money to build lanes that are free to use.
"If we fill up with general purpose lanes and we see ourselves in the same position seven, eight 10, 15 years from now, than there is no option for reliable travel time, toll or no toll," said Rodger Rochelle, DOT representative.
Rates have not been set yet by Cintra.
Cintra still needs to get approved for loans to pay for the project.

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