News: Quick Takes

Bill filed ending I-77 tolling contract

CJ file photo
CJ file photo

Opponents of the controversial Interstate 77 tolling project in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties are taking one more crack at killing the project.

Mecklenburg County state Reps. Chaz Beasley (a Democrat) and John Bradford (a Republican) have filed House Bill 266, a measure that would kill the contract between the N.C. Department of Transportation and I-77 Mobility Partners, the group led by the Spanish company Ferrovial S.A. that has the contract to build a High-Occupancy Toll corridor in the median of I-77 north of Charlotte.

The controversial project has significant local opposition, but former Gov. Pat McCrory defended it vigorously, leading some analysts to suggest its unpopularity contributed to McCrory’s narrow loss in November to current Gov. Roy Cooper.

A measure introduced last year that would have terminated the contract “for cause” passed the House by a veto-proof 81-27 margin. It was not taken up in the Senate.

The bill would terminate the contract as of July 1 and pay any termination fees from NCDOT funds that have not been committed to other projects.