New bill could provide relief from I-77 toll lane project

Charlotte-area residents are wanting relief from the I-77 toll mess, and thanks to new legislation, they could get it.

Several North Carolina lawmakers are working on legislation that could impact the controversial toll lane project and filed a bill today that would remove roadblocks to create changes.

Residents in North Mecklenburg and South Iredell Counties, who frequent the stretch of I-77, want the toll lane project stopped.

"I'm retired and don't have to commute and I can afford to ride on this road, but my heart goes out to the day workers who have to think about tolls to save time to get to work, and I think its unfairly done," said Davidson resident Patricia Dumser.

LINK: New legislation could allow for changes to I-77 toll lane project

That's why Senator Natasha Marcus, Representative Christy Clark and Representative Chaz Beasley are trying to pass a bill that would eliminate the provisions passed in 2018 that essentially put up roadblocks for Governor Cooper to negotiate any changes in the project's contract with Cintra.

"We know we need a better deal, and our bill is designed to give the governor his authority back to make negotiations for a better deal," said Sen. Natasha Marcus.  

"This bill is one step, but not the only step we have to take to create real change for the people of this district," Representative Chaz Beasley added.

Concerned citizens met with the lawmakers today, holding signs protesting the toll lane project.

"Right now, it's a safety concern," said Dumser. "There are too many accidents on this road, it's too narrow, they have a lot to do to make this a safer road."

The binding 50 year contract with Cintra can't be cancelled, so the lawmakers are trying to come up with realistic options to modify it.

"One of the things we are trying to do here, is make it clear this project is bad for the people of North Mecklenburg and South Iredell Counties and we need to provide the space to create change on this issue," said Beasley.

The citizens plan on joining lawmakers in Raleigh to take their concerns straight to the capital.

"It's an important issue, and it impacts our whole state's economy in the end-- and I'm grateful we have so many folks willing to come support our bill," Marcus said.