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Cornelius News

Towns seek answers on I-77 toll lane letters

Aug. 10. It’s been almost a year and a half since the NCDOT asked towns like Cornelius and Huntersville to outline suggested changes in the 50-year CINTRA I-77 toll lane contract. To date, they have received no response from the state and that has elected officials extremely concerned especially since a decision on the future of the contract will be forthcoming soon.

An independent review criticizes the the NCDOT for lack of public engagement in the I-77 project. The Mercator review says several jurisdictions responded with suggestions and questions in March 2016, “but NCDOT did not provide any formal response.”

The resulting public furor has brought down a variety of public officials, ranging from the mayor of Huntersville to the sitting governor, Pat McCrory.

At their meeting Aug. 7, the Cornelius Town Board adopted a resolution asking DOT Secretary Trogdon to arrange a meeting in Cornelius so their questions can finally be addressed, before a final decision on the contract is made. Commissioner Dr. Mike Miltich offered the resolution.

“Time is running out and we need answers,” Miltich said. Commissioner Dave Gilroy agreed. “As I recall putting those questions together and drafting that letter was quite an exercise, so I am in favor of this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam suggested that the town also contact Huntersville and Davidson to look into setting up a regional meeting, since many of the concerns expressed by all three towns were similar.

There shouldn’t be any resistance from Huntersville. Mayor John Anarella is already on record as being “very concerned” about the failure of the DOT to respond to the correspondence.

The letters containing suggested contract changes were originally requested by the McCrory administration on Feb. 17 2016, and neither McCrory nor his DOT Secretary ever responded with detailed answers.

Political analysts continue to suggest that the manner in which the toll lane controversy was handled by McCrory, a Republican, ultimately cost him tens of thousands of votes in the Lake Norman area and probably the election last November.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to incorrect information given to Cornelius Today, an earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that the North Tarrant Expressway in Texas, another CINTRA related project, had filed bankruptcy.