Lawmaker wants to stop Garden Parkway toll road - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Lawmaker wants to stop Garden Parkway toll road

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The proposed Garden Parkway hit another roadblock this week. A state leader filed a bill to cut funding to the project. The toll road would connect I-85 in southern Gaston County to I-485 near Charlotte Douglas Airport.

Currently, the project is on hold because of a lawsuit.

Both those for and against the road say they aren't surprised about the bill.

Representative Dana Bumgardner made a campaign promise to stop the toll road. "He is just fulfilling what he told people he would do," Gaston County Commissioner Joe Carpenter said.

"I would argue the voters voices have been heard," Catawba Riverkeeper Rick Gaskins.

WBTV has reported over the years on the protests and people concerned over losing property. But many organizations including the Gaston County Chamber of Commerce, city council and county commission are all for it saying it will elevate traffic and cut down on travel time.

The road would begin at I-85 in Bessemer city, wind around Crowder's mountain, turn east towards Charlotte and end near the airport.

"To me it is time to move on with the project," Carpenter said.

Carpenter has worked on the project, he says, for more than 25 years. He sees it as a win-win for the county and the state. Carpenter points to a study by UNC Charlotte Economic Professor John Connaughton who says the toll road would create nearly 18,000 jobs.

However, the state Turnpike Authority's federally required study showed that North Carolina would lose 900 jobs if the highway were built, while South Carolina would gain 600.

"I think that is part of the push back is people didn't want to pay the toll but if you look at the cost and the savings it makes all the sense in the world," Carpenter said.

Catawba Riverkeeper Rick Gaskins says environmentally the new road would pollute an already problematic waterway like Lake Wylie.

And he says it's hard to see how the road would pay for itself even with a toll.

"You would think most legislators in other parts of the state would be happy to have a billion dollars less of spending," Gaskins said.

According to Gaskins, the lawsuit filed last summer to stop the toll road is currently scheduled for mediation next week.

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