State News

Consultant to study altering I-77 toll lanes project

Posted 6:11 a.m. Friday

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation has hired a consultancy firm to study potential improvements to the contract for the Interstate 77 toll lanes project.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/2oaJYZb ) Philadelphia-based Mercator Advisors will study the possible alterations to the 50-year, $655-million contract with Cintra subsidiary I-77 Mobility Partners, including outright termination. Any changes to the contract could costs the state millions and the department hasn't committed to moving forward with any suggested modifications.

Jim Taylor of Mercator says there's a nationwide precedent of highway departments altering toll contracts or buying out the private developers.

Mecklenburg residents have expressed displeasure with the toll lanes and the expansion's exclusion of any extra free lane capacity.

During his campaign, Gov. Roy Cooper said he opposed the toll lane contract.

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