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Tuesday, January 5, 2016


 Is this the first question that comes to mind every time you read of anyone’s support for I-77 Toll Lanes?  It is for the staff at Citynewswatch

Each update is more and more infuriating, including the information from last night’s work session of the Charlotte City Council committee where they took a vote of 3-2 to support toll lanes, with Vi Lyles supporting. 

Lyles is the sole vote representing Charlotte on CRPTO (the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization) with a weighted vote of 31 out of 68 which essentially makes it the only one that counts. She has made it clear she intends to keep supporting the contract with Spanish-based I-77 Mobility Partners/Cintra to build toll lanes which may cost around $20 per round trip at rush hour.  The private toll lanes would skip over certain exit areas altogether and dump traffic into select real estate development areas.  Toll lanes would only be strong enough to support cars (read ==> trucks will be forced to stay on "free" lanes and increase slowdowns and air pollution for the poor masses).

What is the reason for support of this crazy contract?

The State of North Carolina contracted with a company known to default and go bankrupt multiple times in other states.  They have been involved in government bribes.  They were awarded a no-competitive-bid contract with a 50-year non-compete clause so that NC may not add any tax-funded lanes (or should we say other tax-funded lanes?) without paying huge penalties. 

Here’s another problem:  the threats of huge penalties to scare us into submission are fluctuating from a relatively small amount to $300 million. The NCDOT representative also says the number can’t be calculated.

Can’t be calculated?  From a contract you wrote?

‘Are you that stupid or that corrupt’ comes to mind.

Of course the representative is Ned Curran, who is also CEO of Charlotte-based Bissell Companies real estate developer.  That’s right:  The chairman of the state Board of Transportation directing where & how our tax money is spent on roads is head of one of the biggest real estate developers in the area. 

Curran has been quoted with statements that voting down this project would affect lanes being built on Independence Blvd. and on Charlotte's outer loop along with other local projects, and further that any “regular” lanes being built on I-77 would be delayed a minimum of 6 months more for an air quality study to be conducted.  Opponents say the first statement is simply untrue and is nothing more than retaliation.  No explanation has been given for the air quality study.  But even if it’s true, wouldn’t a 6-month delay seem inconsequential compared to hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of dollars lost to a foreign country with a spotty record of accomplishment?  Is there any confidence that air quality would be better with Cintra managing toll lanes than with additional “free” lanes?  Probably not—and that should be the comparison for air quality decisions. 


If you need to catch up on this important issue, here’s a video posted on You Tube has been posted some time ago but with good information and a snappy tune:


The Charlotte Observer’s Steve Harrison recapped the Council committee meeting including.

Here are a couple of the dumbest highlights:

  • ·       “Lyles, the committee chairman, tried to steer the conversation away from questions about the 1-77 project specifically.”  Um, what did Lyles think people were there to discuss?  A corrupt, outrageous contract for a toll road that should not be built--which will benefit NOBODY except developers with some very specific tracts of land and a company that is building those toll roads.

  • ·       "Upon initial review the (auditor’s) report appears to reaffirm that, while the exact cost of cancellation cannot be calculated, it will clearly be substantial," the DOT said.  It has been stated at about $100 Million or up to $300 Million.  Would you make a contract that may be off by 300% or off by $200 Million?   That’s what Vi Lyles and possibly Jennifer Roberts and others want you to pay for.   And probably your children.  And their children.  50 Years.

  • ·       “Julie Eiselt, a Democrat, said she asked a friend who works in construction in Spain about Cintra, which has been criticized by toll lane opponents. Eiselt said her friend told her the firm has a good reputation.”  Let’s base our decision about Cintra’s reputation on government bribery and bankruptcies and defaults for other toll road projects in major cities that have left those cities bleeding out ransoms of tax-payer funds.  I don’t care what Eiselt’s friend heard at the water cooler en Espana. Embarrassing.


A group called WIDEN I-77 has filed suit to stop the toll roads.  The hearing will be this 
Friday, Jan. 8, at 10:00 a.m. 
in at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse at 832 East 4th Street in Charlotte in Court Room 6170 and is open to public attendance. 

You should also make your opinion known via email addresses always provided to the right sidebar here and phone numbers below:

Office of the City Clerk

Mayor Jennifer Roberts
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-2241

Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles
Council member at large
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-3431

​Julie Eiselt
Council member at large
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: to come

Claire Green Fallon
Council member at large
PO Box 481325
Charlotte, NC, 28269
Telephone: 704-336-6105

James Mitchell
Council member at large
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-3430

​Patsy B. Kinsey
Council member, district 1
2334 Greenway Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204
Telephone: 704-336-3432

Al Austin
Council member, district 2
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-3185

LaWana Mayfield
Council member, district 3
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-3435

Gregory A. Phipps
Council member, district 4
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-3436

​John N. Autry
Council member, district 5
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-336-2777

Kenny Smith
Council member, district 6
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone:  704-574-7241

Edmund H. Driggs
Council member, district 7
600 E. 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
Telephone: 704-432-7077

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