Deal with Cintra in N. Carolina for I-77 will soak commuters

Link to article here.

It's outrageous that any state DOT would hand over a major interstate based on a single bid! Even worse that they'd donate the right-of-way purchased with taxpayer money and taken with eminent domain to a private corporation! Private toll roads are the MOST expensive way to expand roads and are a threat to property rights. Commuters will be fleeced with $20/day tolls by this private foreign corporation whom they cannot hold accountable in any way. Losing control of our public roads is criminal malfeasance.

NCDOT Toll Lanes Deal with Cintra Would Slam Commuters
June 10, 2014
by Kurt Naas
Watchdog Wire

In early April the NCDOT announced they had selected Cintra, a Spanish company, as the contractor for the I-77 toll lane project. As it turns out, the Cintra bid was the only one received. Under the terms of the contract, NCDOT will donate the remaining public right-of-way  and grant Cintra an exclusive concession to design, build and operate toll lanes along the Lake Norman stretch of I-77 for the next 50 years. The NCDOT noted Cintra’s proposal had been subject to an extensive review of over 300 pass/fail criteria, and the Cintra package met all of them.

Despite this apparent rigor and detail, the public has been kept largely in the dark about even the most basic aspects of this project: How will drivers access the toll lanes? Where will they access them? How much are the tolls? I attempted to find out by filing a FOIA request, but weeks after filing and receiving nothing but stonewalling, I finally went to the media. Allison Latos at WSOC made a few phone calls and was able to shake loose more information in a week than I’ve been able to in two months. Thanks, Allison!

The NCDOT forwarded a series of traffic and revenue (T&R) memoranda from Stantec, an infrastructure consultancy. NCDOT also provided electronic copies of two memorandums to the NC legislature summarizing the I-77 tolling project.

Below is my summary.

Toll Rates
Stantec predicts a one-way morning trip from Mooresville to Charlotte will initially cost $9.05.  The return commute will cost $11.75, so a one day toll lane commute will cost over $20.  By the year 2035, the tolls will more than double to $20.60 and $21.63 for the morning and evening commutes, respectively, so the price of a commute twenty yearsfrom now will cost over $40 per day. (These are all in 2011 dollars.)

The toll for the worst stretch of SB congestion- Catawba to Hambright- is $2.09. This stretch routinely takes over twenty minutes to travel some mornings, and a $2 toll seems like a bargain. That is, if you are able to exit the toll lane once you’ve bypassed the worst of the traffic. I’m doubtful this will be the case; drivers entering the toll lane at Huntersville or Cornelius will probably be forced to travel (and pay tolls) all the way to downtown, as the ingress/egress discussion explains.

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