• Some drivers concerned about potential toll lane cost

    By: Jim Bradley

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A proposal to add toll lanes on I-77 got a big boost this week after an endorsement from MUMPO, the regional transportation planning group.

    The state is moving forward with a plan that would add toll lanes for 25 miles on I-77 between uptown Charlotte and Mooresville.

    What no one is saying yet, however, is how much those tolls could cost drivers. When asked if NCDOT had a schedule for toll charges, spokeswoman Jen Thompson said "not yet." 

    Tolls have been set, though, on the Triangle Expressway that goes from Holly Springs to the Research Triangle Park outside Raleigh. Drivers are charged between 14 and a half cents and 22 cents a mile for driving on a toll lane there. If that same fee schedule were used in Charlotte, the cost of a round trip toll lane commute between Mooresville and uptown would be roughly $7 a day. That works out to about $145 a month, or more than $1,700 a year.

    Many drivers Eyewitness News talked with say that's too expensive to consider on a regular basis.

    "It may be worth it to some people," said driver Ted Polk, but "it wouldn't be to me."

    The toll lane proposal also has fierce critics who say it shouldn't be considered at all. 

    "That's reckless government to let, to basically have lanes set up for the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots,’” said Vallee Bubak. "The cost will be incredible. Just everyday people going to work, it'll cost them thousands of dollars."

    Rep. Robert Brawley, who represents the Mooresville area in the state House of Representatives, also opposes the toll lanes. He said he'll continue the fight to stop them from being built. 

    NCDOT says it is now considering proposals from four different companies who want to design, build and operate the toll lanes. A decision to pick one of them is expected by the fall of 2013.

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