Group reviewing I-77 toll lanes releases initial findings - | WBTV Charlotte

Group reviewing I-77 toll lanes releases initial findings

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization heard an update from the company hired to review the I-77 toll lanes contract at its meeting Wednesday night.

Mercator Advisors was hired by the North Carolina Department of Administration in April to review the I-77 toll lanes contract. The move came not long after Roy Cooper - who campaigned on a platform suggesting he was against the toll lanes project - took office.

The I-77 toll lanes are being built by Cintra, a Spanish company that will operate the lanes for 50 years once they are opened.

Document: See the consultant’s presentation update to the CRTPO board

According to a copy of Mercator’s presentation posted online by NCDOT, the company will suggested the following options regarding the state’s contract with Cintra:

1. Terminate the contract

2. Modify the contract; here are some possible modifications:

  • Defer or eliminate tolling of certain lanes or segments
  • Establish frequent user discounts
  • Allow HOV-2 for some period of time
  • Eliminate or modify compensation for the building of additional non-tolled infrastructure

3. Work with CRTPO to identify and advance additional improvements to address mobility issues in the corridor, such as:

  • Constructing auxiliary lanes between interchanges or strengthening outside shoulders for peak hour use, and
  • Addressing roadway bottlenecks that hamper movement of trucks

4. Develop preliminary plans to negotiate and finance the purchase of the toll lanes after completion

“Any change to the contract will likely involve some cost. And what we have to do is figure out what the parameters are,” said Jim Taylor, with Mercator Advisors. 

According to the presentation, a draft report of the consultant’s findings will be made available for public review and a final report will be submitted to NCDOT in September.

“There are a lot of concern about mobility that have nothing to do with the express lanes or the contract,” said Taylor. 

Meanwhile, frustration continues to build. 

“They just do not understand the effect it is having on our local businesses. We are landlocked,” said Michelle Ferlauto, an Anti I-77 toll Advocate.

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