CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NC DOT is accusing opponents of I-77 toll lanes of deliberately misleading the public to whip up more opposition.
At issue are privacy concerns, in the midst of a $650 million, half-century contract with a foreign based corporation, Cintra, which the NCDOT is hiring to manage the toll lanes.
Toll lane opponents in a group called Widen I-77 claim the contract allows the foreign company to collect social security numbers, medical data and personal financial information.
The NC DOT says that's not true, neither the state nor the contractor will collect medical information.
In a packed meeting of toll lane opponents at Cornelius Town Hall last night, Widen I-77 founder Kurt Naas raised serious personal privacy questions citing language from the contract with Cintra.
Naas pointed to a section of the contract which listed confidential records which he said the foreign company would be collecting.
He specifically pointed to medical data, saying "I have no idea why you would need medical data to drive down a highway."
This afternoon the NC DOT released a statement in all caps saying, "NO SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, MEDICAL INFORMATION, BIRTH DATES OR ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION WILL BE COLLECTED BY THE TURNPIKE AUTHORITY, THE NCDOT OR CINTRA."
A state spokesman says the section of the contract Naas cited is a list of private records designed to protect the public.
NC DOT Deputy Secretary Mike Charbonneau told me this afternoon "Not only is that wrong...He (Naas) is intentionally misleading groups."
Kurt Naas categorically denies misleading anyone but freely admits he's an engineer not a lawyer and that the contract is very complicated.
The group Widen I-77 still has privacy concerns - and lots of other objections - to toll lanes on I-77.
The full text of the DOT statement and an example of the application of the EZ Pass application is attached below.