CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Protesters said their 2-year fight to try and stop the Interstate 77 toll lane project isn't over, and are heading to Raleigh Tuesday.
They’re hoping public officials will listen and act on their concerns.
The project would add toll lanes to 26 miles of I-77 stretching from Mooresville to Charlotte.
The opposition can't elect transportation officials so they're making their concerns heard to elected officials, Chuck Suter said.
"Best case scenario would be (Gov. Pat) McCrory would listen to 1.5 million people in this area who say this is the time to tap the brake on these tolls," Suter said.
"I have teenage boys right now and they'll be almost 70 before these tolls go away," Vallee Bubak said.
For the past two years Suter, Bubak and other supporters of Widen I-77 have been pushing for new lanes without the tolls.
But last week the state closed the financial deal with a subsidiary of Spanish-owned Cintra.
"This is so disappointing to people that our government, our elected officials who people thought they could count on sold them out to a private company to turn their highway into a toll road," Bubak said.
Four cities and two counties approved resolutions asking the state to back out of the $647-million deal over concerns about the contract. Suter argues the issue may soon impact people beyond the metro area.
“We respect and appreciate the many voices and opinions of this project. The I-77 Express Lanes project was unanimously approved and requested by the local transportation planning organization (CRTPO, formerly MUMPO). NCDOT is delivering the project that local planners developed, recommended and still support, along with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, based upon the fact that this project will offer drivers more choices for reliable travel time, and help manage traffic on one of the state’s most congested corridors for people and freight," NCDOT officials said.
Construction crews will begin working on the interstate this summer.
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