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Cornelius News

Huntersville follows Cornelius lead; calls for answers on Cintra contract

May 11. Taking a cue from their neighbors to the north, the Huntersville Town Board unanimously passed a resolution at a special meeting May 11 calling on the state DOT to explain last-minute changes made to the 50-year toll contract with Cintra. A similar measure calling for a 90-day ‘timeout’ was passed May 4 in Cornelius. Both votes come just weeks before the state and Cintra, the Spanish based private builder, are due to close on the controversial roadway’s financial closing package.

The commissioners in both towns appear to be tracking the sentiment expressed from online polls conducted by Cornelius Today during the first week of May. Over 93 percent of those responding were in favor of imposing a moratorium on the toll lane project.

Generating concern among the commissioners from both towns was an internal memo from Cornelius Assistant Town Manager Andrew Grant. In the memo, which was published online by Cornelius Today, Grant said “it appears nobody has a clear understanding” of a key component in the 50-year contract with a Spanish company

The memo reveals the Cintra contract limits the region’s ability to undertake north-south road improvements that could diminish its ability to collect tolls on new “Lexus Lanes” on I-77. The contract says that new roads that relieve congestion on I-77 would result in a “Compensation Event” for Cintra. The contract was apparently revised without either town’s knowledge.

—By Dave Vieser