Myths & Facts

Myth:

There’s no money for general purpose lanes.

Fact:

The current HOT lane plan calls for $170million in taxpayer funds.  Rough estimates indicate general purpose lanes can be built for less than this.

Myth:

There’s only a 10% cost difference between the HOT lane plan and general purpose lanes.  The HOT lanes are expected to cost $550million, so general purpose lanes would cost $500million.

Fact:
The current HOT lane plan calls for 5 bridges to be replaced and 4 new bridges to be built, including a completely new interchange at 77/277. A single general purpose lane in both directions would not require bridge replacements/construction and would reduce costs significantly. Estimates for general purpose lanes from exit 23 to exit 36 are approx $80- 130million.

Myth:

The taxpayer money is only available because of the HOT lane nature of the project.

Fact:

According the NCDOT, the federal funding allocated for this project “is not required to be spent on HOT lanes. It can be used for general purpose lanes.”  The State of North Carolina, and specifically the NCDOT and our state officials, are insisting on HOT lanes.

Myth:

This is a done deal.

Fact:

Tolling on I-95 has been postponed for at least ten years through a bill introduced in the state Senate.  I-77 HOT lanes could be stopped, postponed or at least put to a vote through legislative action.

It will not be a done deal until the binding contract is signed.

Myth:

HOT Lanes will manage congestion.  Any lane, even a HOT lane, is better than nothing.

Fact:

HOT Lanes will have “minimal impact to the travel speed in the existing general purpose lanes.”  HOT lanes will only be used when the general purpose lanes are congested.  Therefore, instead of relieving congestion in the general purpose lanes, HOT lanes will ensure it.

Myth:

If we don’t build HOT lanes now we won’t get anything for at least twenty years.

Fact:

Many expensive transit projects such as the Blue Line extension, the Red Line and the Charlotte streetcar are being fast-tracked for funding because they enjoy political support.  I-77 can be widened if we the citizens persistently demand the state does so.

Myth:

Only HOT lane users will pay for the lane.

Fact:

Whether or not you use the HOT lanes, we all pay for this project by time spent in traffic, additional fuel costs,  and poor air quality.

Estimates for the required annual revenues range from $15- 30M per year. That money is siphoned directly out of our local economy to a company with no ties to the region.

Myth:

The private company assumes the risk for this project.

Fact:

The current draft of the contract contains extensive provisions to compensate the private company if the toll lane project fails or either the NCDOT or private company elect to terminate the contract.  This compensation would be paid for by the taxpayer.

Sources:

1)      TCC Comments to Ellerby and Midkiff, October 4, 2012.

2)      STIP I-3311E

3)      STIP I-5405 HOT

4)      “I-485 could be finished sooner”, Charlotte Observer, August 16, 2008

5)      “Taxpayer subsidy could reach $110 million”, Charlotte Observer, June 12, 2012

6)      Meeting with Bill Coxe, September 20, 2012

7)      Draft Comprehensive Agreement, Dec 18, 2012, Section 19 and Exhibit 15

3 thoughts on “Myths & Facts

  1. Pingback: Things are getting HOT over toll roads in Thom Tillis Country | Conservative Common Sense Commentary For The Carolinas: The Daily Haymaker

  2. Pingback: WidenI77.org to MUMPO: “Let Us Speak” | Widen I-77

  3. Pingback: WidenI77.org to MUMPO: “Let Us Speak” | Pundit House

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