CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you need more proof toll roads are unpopular in Mecklenburg County look no further than a new WBTV/Charlotte Observer/Elon University Poll. In fact, those roads are so unpopular residents would rather pay more in taxes than pay a toll.
"Toll roads were something a lot of people wanted to tell us more and more about," said Elon Poll Director Jason Husser. "We asked a question about toll roads and heard a lot more than what we asked."
When given a choice of paying more in taxes, or paying a toll to finance new roads, 54% of registered voters polled in Mecklenburg County said they would rather pay more in taxes, while just 30% said tolls.
"Taxes are not popular really ever with any group," said Husser. "But it seems most Mecklenburg and Charlotte voters would prefer an increase in taxes rather than adding tolls."
A toll road on Interstate 77 connecting uptown Charlotte to the Lake Norman region is currently under construction. The extra lane being built will be managed by a private company and will have varied toll prices based on volume of traffic. Opponents have called for a new general use lane to handle the added traffic created by the area's population boom.
The poll found little tolls are unpopular with everyone. There was little difference in people's feelings when broken down by political party, age, race or gender.
Resident were also asked if they would support the use of tax dollars to build a stadium for a Major League Soccer Team. A ownership group led by Speedway Motorsports President Marcus Smith is trying to bring an expansion club to Charlotte. The original plan called for some public dollars to be used to build a new stadium on the grounds of the current Memorial Stadium in Charlotte's Elizabeth neighborhood just outside of uptown.
The poll asked if Charlotte is selected as a home for new MLS team would you support the use of tax dollars to build a stadium. 54% said no, just 37% said yes.
Voters who identified as Republicans were against the idea 60 to 35%. Democrats were more divided on the question as 50% said no to tax dollars being used while 41% said yes. Millennials were also more evenly split on the question with 46% saying no to tax dollars and 41% saying yes. The poll's margin of error was +/- 4%.