Toll Lane Opponents Look to Trucking Industry for Support

CORNELIUS, NC – Opponents are not giving up their fight to stop construction on the I-77 toll lane project.

Two state lawmakers have filed a new bill to cancel the contract.

Now there’s hope concerns from the trucking industry could add to the pressure transportation leaders are facing.

“The damage that this is going to have to distribution and transit is a massive concern that just kind of got passed by,” says Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett.

While supporters say toll lanes will relieve traffic on general purpose lanes, there’s also the concern about future growth.

Under the contract, existing lanes can’t be expanded for decades without the state paying a penalty.

“The people of North Mecklenburg, they’re frustrated, they’re tired, they’re aggravated,” says local business owner and head of I-77 Business Plan John Hettwer.

“The freight companies are starting to get involved going, ‘This is not a solution. And this is a bad situation for freight,'” Hettwer says. “It will probably get fixed because of the obstruction of the interstate commerce, which will literally drive this in the end.”

Both Puckett and Hettwer have met with new State Transportation Secretary James Trogdon.

“I think they are beginning to understand, hopefully, what the last administration missed,” Puckett says.

“They’re in a learning mode, meaning, ‘explain to me exactly why this is bad and why we should make changes,'” Hettwer says.