Local lawmakers attempt to stop I-77 toll lane project

Group tries to stop I-77 toll lane project

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Local lawmakers are making a last ditch effort to put a stop to the I-77 toll road construction slated for Monday.

On Friday, State Senator Jeff Tarte read a letter at a news conference signed off by him and three other legislators. The letter asks Governor Pat McCrory to terminate the state's contract with Spain-based Cintra.

"We are not trying to push governor in a box or make any threats. We are trying to help the governor understand what have come to understand," said Representative Charles Jeter.

Several reasons were listed in the letter, including concerns over how the current design and "access points," would adversely affect local businesses.

"The rules of this game have changed because so much new information has come to light, back when this was sold at the local level-- debt capacity being one of them," said Representative John Bradford.

Luis Rodriguez of Action NC questions the timing of the letter, which local leaders says they have been working on for three weeks.

He is convinced the ousting of several pro-toll road candidates in November's election played a role.

"What I am saying is that the people came together and put a lot of pressure, and he is feeling that pressure, and now they have shifted that pressure to McCrory and we are very interested to see what McCrory does with this," he said.

NCDOT Director in an e-mail statement said the letter was "riddled with inaccurate and false claims."

"The Governor neither requested this project nor would it be appropriate for him to cancel the contract based on a request from four representatives, without clear direction from the local elected officials who requested and approved the I-77 Express Lanes project on behalf of the Northern Mecklenburg County towns."

"In addition, the Governor does not have the authority, without legislative approval to pay the associated penalties for sudden cancellation."


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