Did I-77 toll lane support hurt Governor McCrory's reelection bid?
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The race may not have been officially called yet, but it is clear that Governor Pat McCrory lost a good bit of support from voters in areas in and to the north of Mecklenburg County. Those are the same areas where a Spanish corporation is building toll lanes along Interstate 77.
Precincts that supported McCrory in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns evaporated in 2016. McCrory only won seven of the 12 north Mecklenburg precincts this time around, compared to four years ago when he won all 12 precincts.
Those five lost precincts precincts gave Cooper 2100 votes. McCrory was up 5600 votes in the same precincts in 2012
Those opposed to the tolls have been longtime critics of Governor McCrory for his support of the project, and in the governor's race the anti-toll group I-77 Business Plan endorsed McCrory's challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper.
Cooper called on Governor McCrory to cancel the contract to build the toll roads, but never said that he would stop the project if elected.
The group supported Republicans in other statewide races, including endorsing Dan Forest for Lt. Governor.
Several local residents who voted in the election and who frequently drive on I-77 said that they believed the issue did hurt McCrory.
"Yes, they did, they did hold it against him, yes," said Carol Anderson of Denver. "I heard a lot of talk about it."
"We pay taxes, we shouldn't have to pay extra for toll lane," said Ronald Motley.
"A lot of people that I work with in the area I hear speak of it often," added Meredith Arp. "They're very against it and I think that hurt him tremendously."
The toll project is one of several controversial issues that have been mentioned since the election. Other issues include HB2, teacher pay, coal ash spills, and incentives for film production in North Carolina.
I-77 Mobility Partners, formed by Spain-based contractor Cintra, is financing, designing and building the 26-mile I-77 toll lanes project from Brookshire Freeway to Exit 36 (N.C. 150) in Mooresville. I-77 Mobility Partners also will operate and maintain the lanes.
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