From Mooresville Tribune: 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.
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.