Plan Proposes I-77 Toll Lanes

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None — A new plan that would allow drivers to pay to drive on Interstate 77 HOV lanes will be debated Wednesday night.

The plan to transform the HOV lanes into toll lanes would cost $50 million, which would include adding a lane in spots where one does not currently exist, such as from just north of exit 18 to exit 28.

The Lake Norman Transportation Commission wants to put the toll lanes in both the north- and southbound lanes.

The idea is to allow more drivers to use the lanes, not just vehicles with two or more people inside, but there is still much work to do.

Lake Norman Transportation Commission Executive Director Carroll Gray said, "We are at about the third number on a scale of 10, so we have a way to go."

Half the money to fund the project would come from people who are willing to pay to use the toll lane, which could cost between $1 and $5 per use. The other half would have to come from state and federal revenues, which could be problematic until the economy improves.

Vehicles with at least one passenger would still be able to use the HOV lanes for free, and enforcement details are still being worked out.

The Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization will need the approve the plans next, then the state will give its opinion.