A community group called "Widen I-77" told state and local officials Monday night why it opposes high-occupancy toll lanes on I-77 and asked for their support.
The group said it's done research on toll lanes in Atlanta, Houston and other cities and that the results are mixed in their effectiveness.
Member Kurt Naas said while congestion is evident on I-77, toll lanes are not the answer.
"We think it's going to have a negative impact on the area's economy because people are going to be paying tolls," he said.
The project would add toll lanes both ways between Charlotte and Mooresville. Cars with at least three people wouldn't have to pay to use the lanes.
Naas said it's all about the state's priorities and that the group believes the state can find funding for general purpose lanes instead.
There is other opposition as well. Earlier in January, the Cornelius Transportation Advisory Board opposed the toll lanes.
Cornelius town commissioners are working on a resolution that encourages the Lake Norman to consider all options for widening I-77.
By August, the NCDOT expects to choose a company to build and operate the toll lanes. Construction is slated to begin in 2014. Naas said the timeline is why it's important to galvanize opposition and act now.
"We want the Lake Norman towns, our area leaders, to convene a task force to start to study alternatives and work with the state," he said. "The state's not the problem, the state's going to provide part of the solution."
Eyewitness News asked the NCDOT about participating.
Louis Mitchell with the NCDOT said it depends on what comes out of tonight's meeting.
"If the elected officials, and some of them are local and some of them are state level, if that's the direction that they give NCDOT to proceed, I'm sure we're going to comply," he said.
Mitchell said the project is moving forward but is not a "done deal" and that the NCDOT is open to speaking with the public.
He estimates the project will cost about $550 million, which would be financed through a federal loan and the private company selected.