CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte transportation leaders held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss a proposal to add more tolls to Interstate 77, stretching from Uptown to the South Carolina border.
The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization said the proposal would add two express lanes in each direction from I-277 to I-485. Cintra, the company behind the existing tolls on I-77, sent an unsolicited proposal to North Carolina and Charlotte transportation officials earlier this year.
NCDOT said any tolls projects in North Carolina must be requested and approved by the local planning organization, per state law. According to NCDOT, this happened in 2014 when CRTPO submitted the I-77 South managed lanes project for prioritization.
The number of free, general-purpose lanes, would remain the same, with an additional lane being built between West Morehead Street and I-277. This would widen the highway to 12 total lanes. The company is asking for a 50-year contract to collect tolls on the 9.4-mile stretch.
An important detail to keep in mind is that nothing has been finalized and a decision isn't expected for some time. If CRTPO decides to explore this concept more, NCDOT said it would partner with them on any future steps, and a contractor would be chosen through an open bidding process.
During the most recent transportation meeting about the proposal, County Commissioner Pat Cotham said she's prepared to fight back against Cintra once more after the negative reaction to the first I-77 toll lane project.
"The people are still not happy," Cotham said in August. "There was a lot of lost trust in north Mecklenburg."
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