Plans to add more tolls on Interstate 77 in Charlotte, N.C., stalled on Wednesday with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
On Wednesday evening, the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization discussed plans to toll parts of I-77 in south Charlotte. Rather than advancing the issue to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the planning organization wants more questions answered.
“This is not over,” Chairman Ron Pappas said. “We collectively should not let this move forward until we understand what we’re looking at and how to engage with NCDOT.”
Plans include adding toll lanes to I-77 in Charlotte to the South Carolina border. Discussions to improve I-77 south have been going on for at least a decade.
However, one issue is the party that has submitted the unsolicited proposal to Charlotte officials: Cintra.
According to WBTV, Cintra is the same company that built the toll lanes in the northern portion of I-77 in Charlotte. Construction took a long time and wreaked havoc for drivers.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Pappas made it clear that the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization was deciding on the project as a whole, not any particular bidder. Pappas explained that during any potential public-private partnership project, a bidding process will be put in place. It is possible that Cintra will not be the only company bidding for the contract to build the I-77 south tolls if the project reaches that point.
Entering into a public-private partnership appears to be the quickest way to get the I-77 toll project completed. Pappas pointed out that waiting on NCDOT to put the project on its State Transportation Improvement Program could take decades.
WGHP is reporting that research suggests the stretch of I-77 in south Charlotte can be practically impassable by 2050. In February, Cintra stepped in with its managed lane proposal to address the issue.
The Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization will take up the issue again in January. LL