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Cornelius News

Mayor Travis running unopposed. Only seven people running for five seats on Town Board. Travis develops plan for alternative to Cintra

Mayor Travis running unopposed. Only seven people running for five seats on Town Board. Travis develops plan for alternative to Cintra

Top row: Jim Duke, Woody Washam, Chuck Travis. Bottom row: Dave Gilroy, Mike Miltich, J.R. Mount, Denis Bilodeau, Thurman Ross

 

July 17. Mayor Chuck Travis will run unopposed for another term. Filing for public office closed this afternoon, with four incumbents and three political hopefuls running for the non-partisan board of commissioners. Incumbent Bruce Trimbur, who was appointed to the board when John Bradford went to the NC House of Representatives, is not running.

The incumbents who are running again are Jim Duke, Dave Gilroy, Thurman Ross and Woody Washam.

The three who hope to be elected for the first time are Denis P. Bilodeau, a first-time candidate, and Michael F. Miltich and J.R. Mount, both of whom ran in 2013. Miltich came in sixth in a crowded 10-candidate contest.

Tolls, of course, will be the major issue. There are nuances around tolls—the issue isn’t just for tolls or against them. This toll plan, though, is viewed as an accident waiting to happen for Cornelius. Express-toll lanes apparently bypass Catawba Avenue.

“The I-77 toll issue and this plan is very bad for the businesses and threatens the quality of life in Cornelius.  With the momentum I see in this grassroots effort, I certainly would not want to be a candidate for the local election in November on the wrong side of this issue,” said John Hettwer, a former chairman of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, Mayor Travis has come out with a strategy for widening I-77 in Lake Norman. He said that he is requesting that Cornelius Town staff submit two projects to the Technical Coordinating Committee of the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization by the end of July. He is calling for:

  • General purpose lanes for I-77 from Exit 28 to Exit 36  (this project will most likely be included regardless) and
  • General purpose lanes for I-77 from Exit 28 to I-485 / Exit 19 (a project that has never received ranking).

The TCC will make recommendations to the CRTPO to send to the NCDOT to begin the ranking process in November, 2015.

“Initial results will be provided in March, 2016 and released for Public Comment in April, 2016,” Travis said.

“I firmly believe that our interstate is broken and that it needs to be fixed. No one disagrees with this premise.  Saying ‘no’ to tolls must come with another method that is viable to fund the improvement in a timely manner,” Travis said.

Gov. McCrory has publicly stated this week that his proposed Transportation Bond will not include I-77 improvements.

“The option that I am proposing is the best option we have for consideration. I stand with my board and I will continue to work with them to find solutions to fix  I-77  for our Town and Region,” the mayor said.

The process will ultimately rank these two projects for funding if the P3 Toll Lane does not move forward.

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