Guest Opinion: Thickening the silver lining




Guest Opinion. Lately we’ve heard some local officials say the I-77 toll issue is dividing our community. I couldn’t disagree more.

One of the most positive things to come out of this controversy is how our community came together in opposition of this ill-conceived project. Over 7,000 people “like” Widen I-77’s facebook page, more than any of the Lake Norman towns. Hundred of business owners signed a petition voicing their opposition. The Lake Norman towns, along with Iredell and Mecklenburg counties, passed 10 resolutions either questioning the project or demanding its termination outright. Websites and blogs sprouted up, each with a different take on why this project is wrong for our region but united in their opposition. One blog post garnered a staggering 43,000 views.

The creative ways in which our community supports this cause continue to amaze me. We’ve held cookouts and silent auctions. Businesses have sponsored everything from hot dog eating contests to t-shirt and bumper sticker sales to simply donating a portion of their proceeds. And even as I write this today a group of local business leaders are heading to Raleigh. They’ll press the case for cancellation with key members of the legislature.

As one who has fought this battle for nearly three years, developments like these keep me going. But there’s still more to do.

Right now it looks like the hearing for our lawsuit will be sometime this fall. The heart of our case is that the project, with its 50-year contract effectively eliminating any further I-77 improvements, does not serve the public interest. Local businesses and leaders can really bolster this argument by filing an affidavit and donating to help fund our legal fees.

But even more helpful would be businesses joining our lawsuit itself. This adds credibility to our conversations in Raleigh would be demonstrable evidence of our public interest argument.  We’re grateful for the petition signatures, but what’s really going to make a difference are businesses stepping up in the ways I just mentioned.

If you’re a local business leader won’t you make a difference today? Upon request we’ll send you an affidavit form and instructions. We can put you in touch with our attorney. Just send us an email at [email protected]. Because 50 years is a long time.

Kurt Naas is the founder and spokesman for Widen I-77. He is also vice president of Aline Corp., Concord.


2 Responses to “Guest Opinion: Thickening the silver lining”

  1. I’ve met amazing people who are volunteering to stop this foreign invasion of our roads and money, including tax dollars. It takes money out of our region to spend in goods and services that provide taxes to go back to our state. Small businesses will be hurt the most, the further away they are from Charlotte. Lake Norman would be impacted the most, for 50 years once built. Amazing people continue to join the cause to stop this very bad idea. If you own a business, please help and step up for your own interests and for the community. I fell in love with Charlotte and Lake Norman 20 years ago. I love living in the small community that is Cornelius. But if these tolls are not stopped and general purpose lanes installed on I77 r to be the same as Charlotte, I will be looking elsewhere. That makes me sad. We have already lost residents and businesses due to the severe traffic congestion and additional lanes were expected as promised with the additional 1/2 cent gas tax increase we have been paying for years. Our leadership has failed us as managed HOT lanes will only help those who can pay tolls up to $20 a day. We are numbers to Raleigh and Charlotte controlled CRTPO. Your voice is needed for them to realize we are people who use the highway as a main road for business and daily errands. We need your voice and strength so that we don’t lose more businesses and residents to less stressful communities. Please, step up today. It is yours and my future and way ofife at stake. It is that serious. We can beat this dang mess and get a good plan in place , if we work together.

    Posted by Anette Powell | September 14, 2015, 9:26 pm
  2. Not only is I-77 in the Lake Norman area the most congested stretch of interstate in North Carolina, it also carries the highest level of truck traffic. Spanish company Cintra has been awarded the exclusive right to build and manage two toll lanes, which tractor trailers are not permitted to use. The contract negotiated by the NCDOT and agreed to by our elected officials allows Cintra to build sub-par lanes that will not hold up to the weight of trucks. If the toll lanes fail as some have predicted and North Carolina citizens get our lanes back, albeit at a tremendous loss, they will be useless to truck traffic without very expensive improvements. Add this to the list of things that make this a very bad plan for the citizens of North Carolina.

    Posted by Sharon Hudson | September 15, 2015, 1:53 am

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