Widen I-77 group continues wait for action by state leaders

- More than 200 people in Mooresville attended a meeting Thursday night to discuss the next step in their battle against the I-77 toll lane project.

Leaders of the group Widen I-77 say they only hold meetings when there are major developments with the toll lane contract.

“I usually need to make a plan of not leaving before 10:00 a.m. and not returning until after 4:00 p.m.,” said one frustrated driver describing the continued gridlock along I-77.

The continued traffic issues and a $655 million toll lane construction project drew more than 200 people to Mooresville. Many had questions about what could happen if the toll lanes were canceled.

“What about the $72 million the state is on the hook for to provide to Cintra?,” asked one driver.

For about 5 years, the Widen I-77 group has been fighting the tolls. Thursday night, everyone was informed the group is continuing their push for the state to buy the I-77 toll lanes, once they are complete, and turn them into a regular, free of charge highway for everyone.

“Hundreds of people are here and out in the hallway concerned about this and the local economy. I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Michelle Ferlauto.

A review of the I-77 contract has been ongoing for months. A draft report released a few weeks ago listed several options for the future of the highway, but leaders with widen I-77 say the option to cancel the toll lanes, wasn’t clearly stated in the draft report.

Whatever the future holds for the controversial highway is still in the hands of the state’s top leader.

“We have a better chance of Governor Cooper doing it then we certainly had with Governor McCrory. He would certainly gain a lot of support from this community, who did support him during his election,” said Ferlauto.

There is no word when the state could make their final say about the I-77 contract.

FOX 46 Charlotte was told Thursday night that the state transportation secretary has been invited to Cornelius for a public meeting, but there is also no word if he plans to attend.

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