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Cornelius News

How much will I 77 tolls cost?


Sept. 12. By Dave Vieser. Motorists will finally begin to get some answers this week as to how much tolls on the new I 77 lanes will cost when I 77 Mobility Partners, the subsidiary of the Spanish company Cintra which is building the new lanes, conducts a public hearing in Huntersville. The 6:30 pm hearing will be at the United Methodist Church on Stumptown Road Thursday night.

The toll plan, of course, is controversial. Political leaders and ordinary citizens protested on the Exit 28 bridge last week. Mayor Woody Washam, NC Sen. Jeff Tarte and NC Rep. John Bradford were among those protesting as well as anti-toll activists Brian Stack Michelle Ferlauto, Amanda Dudley, Stacy Phillips and John “Mac” McAlpine.

Derrick Bost

The tolls are expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, and for the first six months, rates will be stable. Thereafter, they will vary based on demand. The tolls will apply to the two new toll lanes from Exits 28 southward to uptown Charlotte, and one toll lane from Exit 28 to Exit 36 in Mooresville.

Cars with more than two passengers, as well as motorcycles, can use the toll lanes for free as long as they have a transponder.

How much will it cost? That’s anyone’s guess, and the estimates have ranged from $11.75 and upward for an afternoon rush hour trip. Tolls will be collected by a transponder in the vehicle linked to an overhead detector under which the vehicle passes at highway speed. Accounts will be available via the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, or through existing accounts with EZ Pass, PeachPass or SunPass.

Motorists with no transponder will receive a bill in the mail based on the vehicle’s license plate, and the rates for those with no transponders will be higher. This approach, offering discounts to those with passes, is similar to other systems, such as New York’s EZ Pass, where motorists using a tolled roadway, bridge or tunnel, pay less per ride if they have a transponder.

It is anticipated that the methodology for establishing the future toll rates—sometimes referred to as dynamic pricing—will be explained in detail at the hearing.