Cornelius to NCDOT: Tear Down This Contract

Cornelius to NCDOT: Tear Down This Contract

June 2By Dave Vieser. The Cornelius Town Board unanimously passed a strongly worded resolution calling on the asCDOT to terminate its contract with Spanish based Cintra/I-77 Mobility Partners to build toll lanes on I-77. The board also said it would consider joining the lawsuit filed by Widen I-77 seeking to halt the toll lanes planned for nearly 30 miles of the interstate between Lake Norman and Charlotte.

People in the audience were jubilant.

Kurt Naas


The action followed an appearance by Kurt Naas of the Widen I-77 group. Naas asked the town to join their lawsuit and contribute funds to help the group’s legal costs. The commissioners took the request under advisement and said they would discuss it in closed session.

Mayor Pro-Tem Woody Washam said his fellow commissioners must act immediately on the termination resolution which was drafted by Commissioner Dave Gilroy.

Ultimately, the resolution was word-smithed live—with the audience’s help—on an overhead projector. The resolution cited online polls conducted by Cornelius Today and Business Today which showed that more than 90 percent of respondents do not trust the NCDOT to operate in a fair and open manner.

When there was a suggestion that this resolution could hold till the next meeting, Commissioner Woody Washam said: “We need to do this now.”

Naas told the board that his group had requested a trial date for their case and were waiting to hear back from the judge. “However, by joining with us now, you will demonstrate that you’re serious about stopping the toll lanes” Naas added.

Gilroy’s resolution was a surprise, and more than what Naas was asking for. “I was not aware of a resolution to terminate,” Naas said in an email.

Washam quizzed Naas on whether he was going to ask the other Lake Norman towns, as well as the county, to join in the lawsuit. Naas affirmed: “As soon as I can get a date to speak.”

Earlier in the evening, a total of 12 speakers representing residents as well as the business community spoke out in unison against the toll lanes, repeating many of the same concerns heard previously.

Related: I-77 Express Lanes Economic Impact 5-28-2015

In the resolution which was initially prepared by Commissioner Dave Gilroy, a longtime toll road opponent, the town board raises concerns about previous toll road projects, and suggests that money could be available to build general purpose lanes on I-77 rather than toll lanes.

The resolution also cites online opinion polls conducted by and indicating that over 90 percent of our respondents are against the project and do not believe NCDOT operates “with transparency, integrity and in the best interest of our citizens.”

This is the second resolution that the Cornelius board has recently adopted on the toll lanes. The entire board in May voted for a “time-out” on the toll plan, which was rejected by the DOT.

That vote also followed a Business Today/Cornelius Today poll that showed some 93 percent of more than 1,000 respondents wanted to call a time-out after Cintra apparently changed the wording in the contract to limit new parallel roadways.

The Cintra/NCDOT contract is more than 900 pages.

While the commissioners were careful with the language they used in the resolution, their comments from the dais, especially Gilroy’s, were much stronger. “The behavior by the DOT in this instance can only be described as utter arrogance.”

The mere fact that Naas and the lawsuit were placed on the agenda was startling in itself, and demonstrates how elected officials in Cornelius and elsewhere have been influenced by the strong opposition voiced by both residents and more recently, the business community.

Just last week, Cornelius resident John “Mac” McAlpine very nearly stunned an audience of 150 business leaders with a cogent outline of how toll lanes would not just add congestion to local roads, but cost the local economy some $13 billion over the life of the 50-year deal. To download a copy of McAlpine’s PDF presentation, click here.

Live coverage of Monday’s town hall meeting:

Published by David Yochum · 14 hrs · Edited · 

It’s a full house at Cornelius Town Hall, five minutes before the Town Commission meeting gets under way. Widen I-77 will update their suit against NCDOT’s and Cintra’s plan to put toll lanes in between Lake Norman and Charlotte. Cintra was supposed to be here, but the Spanish company apparently backed out.

Amanda Mandy
 Hmmmmm. Wonder why?
Like · Reply · 3 · 14 hrs

Irene Beck
 I thought their rep said he was going to spend the next 6 months talking with us.
Like · Reply · 5 · 14 hrs

Rick Barton
 is Warrren Cookesy there?
Like · Reply · 2 · 14 hrs

Rick Barton
 can’t believe Centra backed out. Mayor Travis must be soiling himself.
Like · Reply · 2 · 14 hrs

Cornelius Today
 Belle Isle resident Bob Deaton, speaking now, says more than a year ago he told commissioners ‘vote no on I-77 tolls’ and no one responded. This is during the public comment period. “The state of North Carolina is giving you something doesn’t make any sense.”
Like · Reply · 1 · Commented on by David Yochum · 14 hrs · Edited

Cornelius Today
 Resident Melissa O’Gorman suggests this: Take the $655 million that the P3 plan costs and spend it on light rail. ‘This is not the United States of Corporations,” she says.
Like · Reply · 1 · Commented on by David Yochum · 14 hrs

Cornelius Today
 Businessman Christian Hine, who says he moved out of Huntersville “because I saw the writing on the wall,” says commercial transportation will suffer, i.e., all manner of deliveries, in light of congestion expected due to the toll plan.
Like · Reply · 3 · Commented on by David Yochum · 14 hrs · Edited

Cornelius Today
 Dave Mancuso of South Shore Drive, says the toll plan is like holding a ransom on people who want to get home in time to see their families. “Make the choice to support the lawsuit,” he says. If it were his choice, he would revoke the visas of the Cintra executives and put them on a one-way flight back to Spain. *Applause
Like · Reply · 8 · Commented on by David Yochum · 14 hrs · Edited

Cornelius Today
 Dee Gilroy, a Spanish professor at UNCC (and the spouse of Town Commissioner Dave Gilroy), says pending lawsuits around Cintra and Ferrovial renders the contract between the NCDOT and Cintra invalid. *Huge applause
Like · Reply · 3 · Commented on by David Yochum · 14 hrs

Cornelius Today
 Nils Lucander, a Davidson resident, said adjustable tolls (based on congestion) means that Cintra will never allow very many cars in the toll lanes., intentionally limiting access…and, ultimately, promoting congestion in the general purpose lanes.
Like · Reply · 3 · Commented on by David Yochum · 1 hr · Edited

Kim Lovejoy
 No show. No go!
Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

Cornelius Today
 Sharon Hudson: The Committee of 21 included people like Anthony Fox, David Howard, John Crosland—people weighted toward Charlotte. She asked commissioners: Will you be strong enough to turn away from this plan?
Like · Reply · 2 · Commented on by David Yochum · 13 hrs · Edited

Cornelius Today
 William Rakatansky, a 28-year resident and former town commissioner, says: “Please pass the resolution to bring these toll lanes to a screeching halt.”
Like · Reply · 3 · Commented on by David Yochum · 13 hrs

Cornelius Today
 Rick Barton Not sure about Cooksey, but I doubt he’s here.
Like · Reply · 1 · Commented on by David Yochum · 13 hrs · Edited

Fred Locke
 Amazing how this stupid toll lane idea even got this far. It should be easy for our leaders to figure out what they need to do.
Like · Reply · 5 · 13 hrs

Cornelius Today
 There’s definitely support on the Town Commission to—at minimum—investigate ways to support the Widen I-77 lawsuit.
Like · Reply · 2 · Commented on by David Yochum · 12 hrs

Angelo A Lorusso Jr
 Great news Cornelius Today. Sorry we had to leave.
Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs


Nils Lucander Cintra and the Road to Nowhere 

Nils Lucander's photo.

I’m bummed out that neither a Cintra or NCDOT representative is here to promote these toll lanes. I had only heard of snake oil salesmen in the movies and I wanted to see one in real life.

See More

Like · Reply · 6 · 12 hrs

Angelo A Lorusso Jr
 Someone from NCDOT finally showed up, is that what I am hearing?
Like · Reply · 2 · 11 hrs

Cornelius Today
 A resolution to immediately terminate the Cintra contract, drafted by Dave Gilroy, and wordsmithed ‘live’ before concerned citizens, was just passed unanimously by the Cornelius, North Carolina Town Board. A huge achievement in Widen I77‘s battle against tolls.
Like · Reply · 14 · Commented on by David Yochum · 11 hrs

Angelo A Lorusso Jr
 WhooHooo. Thank you Cornelius Commissioners.
Like · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs

Angelo A Lorusso Jr
 Thank you for being there Cornelius Today.
Like · Reply · 3 · 11 hrs

Ray Duncombe
 Thank you, and huge thank you to the Cornelius Town Board. Now if they could find a way to support WidenI77’s lawsuit, that would be even better!
Like · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs

Brian Stack
 Thank you Cornelius Today.
Like · Reply · 2 · 10 hrs


Judy Greenspon Cole
 Yes Cooksey arrived just in time to hear Kurt. He seemed to be texting a lot

Judy Greenspon Cole's photo.
Like · Reply · 2 · 10 hrs

Richard John
 ^^ look a picture of ineptitude!
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs
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