For years now we’ve been told that one of the benefits of the I-77 toll lanes is they will encourage carpooling because vehicles with three or more occupants can use the lanes for free.
Speaking of free, there are several ways you can use the express lanes without spending a dime. The express lanes will be free of charge to:
Carpoolers with three or more occupants, including the driver
But there’s a catch.
According to the contract, only high occupancy vehicles with a transponder can use the lanes for free. Everyone else will be charged a toll. You could have ten people in your SUV and if you don’t have the appropriate transponder, you will be charged a toll. Here’s the actual language defining High Occupancy Vehicles:
Another thing to notice is “motor vehicles without trailers“. Want to take the family out on the boat? You could have a family of five and a transponder, but if you’re towing a boat and want to use the toll lanes to get to the lake, you’ll pay.
And just to make things clear the contract explicitly says if you do not have a transponder Cintra can toll you:
So if you thought you and your buddies could occasionally hop on the toll lanes for free and head to uptown to take in a Knight’s game, think again. You’ll need to buy a transponder first. And if you’re towing a boat you’ll pay, transponder or not. If you don’t there’s a good chance you’ll be pulled over because Cintra is building “enforcement zones:”
Last week, presumably in response to building public outrage, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce issued another cheerleading video. Apparently they haven’t read the fine print because their website says “Drivers with three or more occupants can use the managed lanes for free.“
Statements like this and the NCDOT’s website continue a pattern of misleading information or convenient omissions. This makes it all the more important for our local elected leaders to call a timeout and have this contract reviewed. We’re confident once the details come to light this project will be killed.
Cornelius unanimously passed a resolution doing just that. Huntersville is considering a softer resolution this Monday, May 11. Davidson is to discuss the issue at their May 12 meeting. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners is considering a resolution at the May 19 meeting. Mooresville has unfortunately been silent.
So please, contact your local representatives and let them know you want this stopped. It’s important they hear from you because who knows how many more snakes are still in the woodpile.
As always, please be respectful.