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Cornelius News

Rain doesn’t deter toll protest

20151010_105115Oct. 10. Around two-dozen cars—some with two or more passengers—joined an anti-toll parade in spite of rain. Held by Exit 28 Ridiculousness, a free-flowing Facebook-driven anti-toll group, the “Drive Against The I-77 Toll Lanes, Toll-Free Flag Car Parade” traversed Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville late Saturday morning and afternoon.

Pat Cain Cotham, a Mecklenburg County Commissioner, joined in, as well as local commission candidates like Dr. Mike Miltich from Cornelius and Mark Gibbons from Huntersville.

After WidenI-77.org, launched by Cornelius resident Kurt Naas, they were early opponents of the NCDOT plan to widen I-77 with a public private partnership that includes a company with roots in Spain—Cintra.

“Despite the weather, the parade was a success as a result of the support we received from our supporters who came out and the route through all four cities,” said Michelle Ferlauto, who participated in the parade. She is the director of operations at Interactive Interiors, a home automation design and integration company here.

Ferlauto said she and the four teams at Interactive Interiors could spend “upwards of $15,000 annually in tolls, which will come directly off the bottom line.”

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the additional cost of doing business off I-77 as a result,” she said.

Parade participant Dee Gilroy said Cintra and its parent company, Ferrovial, have a dubious record of business dealings overseas. The parade was organized by Nils Lucander, a Davidson resident. Gilroy, a Spanish professor at UNC-Charlotte, is married to Cornelius Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy, a staunch toll opponent.

The parade-demonstration took place on I-77 at 45 mph and at slightly lower than posted speeds on roads like Main Street and Catawba Avenue.

This is a Facebook post from Exit 28 Ridiculousness: https://www.facebook.com/714476968678820/photos/p.766439336815916/766439336815916/?type=3&theater

Pictured are toll protestors Brian Stack, Cornelius Board candidate Dr. Michael Miltich, Nils Lucander, Michelle Ferlauto, Mecklenburg Commissioner Pat Cain Cotham and Judy Greenspon Cole.