NC’s I-77 tolls plan could block new free lanes

Charlotte Observer

The North Carolina state contract to create toll lanes on Interstate 77 north of Charlotte could cause problems with any plans to add free lanes on the road anytime soon.

The contract for the toll lanes includes a clause that would penalize the state if it builds any new free lanes on the road in the next 50 years, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Some local officials were surprised to learn that the toll road operator, I-77 Mobility Partners, could probably collect damages if the state adds two new free lanes around Lake Norman, the newspaper reported. The eight-mile expansion is estimated to cost $430 million.

Under the contract, the state would have to pay I-77 Mobility Partners compensation for lost toll revenue if the state builds the expansion as free lanes.