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Cornelius News

It looks like LKN Transportation Commission has run out of gas


Feb. 23. In the wake of the Huntersville Town Board’s decision to withdraw from the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission, the Cornelius Town Board is expected to vote against re-funding the inter-county agency this Friday at a specially called meeting.

The towns that are members of the LNTC have until Feb. 29 to give notice.  The former mayor of Mooresville, Bill Thunberg, is the only paid LNTC official. As executive director, he receives an annual salary of $80,000 shared equally by Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville and Mooresville.

One town pulling out—let alone two—is a body blow to the organization. Cornelius board members said withdrawing from the organization is really about a fresh start, and, to some extent, a town staff approach to regional transportation issues as opposed to what amounts to a separate agency.

The LNTC has come under fire in recent months for lining up to closely with the NCDOT, and specifically not taking a more active role in the I-77 toll lane controversy.

Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy says “the organization should be defunded now and re-chartered at some point in the future.”  Leaving the organization intact does not seem to be an option—the sentiment, in Cornelius at least, is to start from scratch, especially with the goal of bringing Huntersville back into the fold.

“I have come to believe it is cleaner to start all over. It is unquesitonable in my mind we must have Huntersville,” said Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam. Long-time Commissioner Thurman Ross also supports a vote to defund.

Thunberg says the commission can continue to play a valuable role. “There is value in regional collaboration and the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission remains committed to regional collaboration on issues around transportation and land use in the Lake Norman area,” he said.

Created in 2009, LNTC’s primary role is to “study, investigate and advocate any and all transportation improvements in the Lake Norman area.” The commission is officially comprised of the Town Managers and a commissioner from Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and representatives from the Lake Norman and Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce meets monthly.