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Meeting held to discuss proposed I-77 tolls

Cintra, the company behind the existing I-77 tolls, sent a proposal to NCDOT about adding more tolls from Uptown to the South Carolina border.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte transportation leaders met Wednesday to further discuss the possibility of adding more tolls to Interstate 77

The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization hosted a meeting Wednesday night, where leaders discussed an unsolicited proposal to add tolls from Uptown to the South Carolina border on I-77. Cintra, the company behind the existing tolls that run from Charlotte to Mooresville, made an unsolicited proposal to North Carolina and Charlotte transportation leaders earlier this year. 

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According to documents obtained by WCNC Charlotte, Cintra wants to build two express lanes in each direction from I-485 to I-277. In addition to the toll lanes, Cintra proposed building an additional general purpose lane from West Morehead Street to I-277, widening the highway to 12 total lanes. 

If approved, Cintra says the project would take five years to complete. The company is asking for a 50-year contract to collect tolls on the 9.4-mile stretch. 

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NCDOT said any toll projects in North Carolina must be requested and approved by the local planning organization, per state law. In this case, that would be CTRPO. The board would also need to decide if it wants to enter a public-private partnership with an outside company to install and maintain the tolls.

Discussion of the proposal caused a strong reaction from some committee members, with County Commissioner Pat Cotham saying she's prepared to fight back against Cintra again. 

“The people are still not happy," Cotham said. "There was a lot of lost trust in north Mecklenburg."

Board members will need to decide next month.

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