Just when you thought CRTPO was going to do the right thing….

When the Technical Coordinating Committee recommends a vote to CRTPO, it’s usually a fait accompli: perfunctory, box checking, zero drama. Usually, unless it has to do with I-77 tolls.

Two weeks ago we reported CRTPO was poised to approve a project list at their next meeting. That list included a general purpose lane project, a prerequisite for general purpose lanes being funded through normal appropriations. The project would be scored and ranked along with all the other projects on the list. If the toll project is cancelled, this project would be plan B.

The benefit vs cost of such a project is so great that we’re confident it would rank high enough to be funded. We’ve been asking for a good faith effort to develop and score such a project.  We thought that was finally going to happen.

It isn’t.

During their Sept 16th meeting some delegates questioned why the project was on the list when we already have the toll “solution.” They expressed concern it would take up slots from other projects. (Only the top 22 or so will score high enough to get funded.)

And here’s the kicker: according to our source, CRTPO would add the toll cancellation penalty to the cost of the GP project.  

So, we’re told, there is no way the GP project would score high enough carrying a $100 million elephant on its back.

Of course, this raise some questions and inconsistencies:

  • If it won’t score high high enough, why worry about it taking up a slot?
  • If the toll lanes get built, won’t that slot be opened up anyways?
  • Where did the $100 million figure come from?
  • Where is the statutory language that allows the TCC to apply the penalty of a state contract to a local planning area?

As far as we know, these questions were never asked.

CRTPO postponed the vote.

Any bets on what will happen at October’s meeting?  Do you think CRTPO will do the right thing and keep the GP project on the list?

When it comes to I-77 tolls,  CRTPO doing the right thing would be unprecedented.

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