From Mooresville Tribune: OUR VIEW: Toll lanes aren’t the answer to I-77 woes

mooresvilletribunePosted: Monday, March 25, 2013 11:34 am

OUR VIEW: Toll lanes aren’t the answer to I-77 woes

An editorial of the Mooresville Tribune

If highways in the greater Charlotte region had gotten the financial attention they deserved years ago from the State of North Carolina, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.

Decades of being ignored by the eastern N.C. power base spawned the mess we have today in this area with clogged interstate highways that should have been made wider when they were originally built. Getting state money to widen I-77 all the way from Charlotte into Iredell County continually falls on deaf ears; other projects around the state are always more important.

So now the state is looking at a public-private partnership to create high-occupancy toll lanes on I-77 as a way to lessen congestion. That would get the interstate widened faster, backers say.

They are correct, but turning I-77 into a partial toll highway is wrong. First, making motorists pay a toll to drive on roads that they already fund through their taxes just isn’t right. It’s sort of like the personal property tax we pay the county each year for the right to operate our cars, but that’s another argument for another time.

Instead of toll lanes, I-77 should be much higher on the state’s priority list of interstate highways needing widening. As Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce board member Mike Russell stated at a recent meeting of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, “I want a list of the 91 other (state) projects that are ahead of this one in funding.”

Added Iredell County Commissioner Ken Robertson, “In the past 15-20 years, I have watched all other interstates get widened except for ours. We are told that other projects have higher priority than I-77 and the only way to get it done now is through toll roads. It’s about equity.”

We agree with Robertson and Russell. Toll lanes are not the answer to I-77’s woes. Widening the interstate by adding general-purpose lanes is the only way to effectively attack the congestion problem we face on a daily basis.

6 Responses to From Mooresville Tribune: OUR VIEW: Toll lanes aren’t the answer to I-77 woes

  1. Anonymous says:

    You know I totally agree with the article. However, we can complain by writing, screaming, wahtever!!! Bottom line is somebody better come up with another viable solution pronto or this is what we get unless you prefer doing nothing!!! Think about it. When you come up with another solution, sell it to the 4 towns, NCDOT and MUMPO. I”m waiting.

    • Kurt Naas says:

      The current toll lane plan is $550M total and calls for $170M in public funds. It includes construction/replacement of nine bridges, among other things. A single general purpose lane in either direction requires no bridge replacement, which greatly reduces the project cost. Wideni77 estimates the cost of two GP lanes to exit 36 at ~$130M.
      Therefore, the logical solution is build GP lanes and save the taxpayer ~$40M. Wideni77 has learned the federal portion of the funds is NOT tied to toll lanes- so North Carolina is ramming toll lanes down our throat. Our first resort is convincing the state they need to do the right thing.

      How about you quit waiting and help out? You can call/email your state politicians (check the elected officials page). Attend our info sessions. Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings and voice your concern. Pass out flyers. Attend MUMPO meetings and tell them I-77 needs to be a priority.

      Too many armchair quarterbacks have gotten us into this mess in the first place.

    • Ice says:

      Realmente o Flamenco inspira qualquer um que ame essa arte… Quero muito poder conhecer Manuel Reyes e seu trabalho que tanto bem ouço falar.! Gostei muito da entrevista – Parabens aos prisosfoinais!

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