WI77 evaluates the candidates on the I77 toll issue

WI77 was formed in Fall 2012, and was the first formal opposition to the toll project.  Six years later, the toll issue remains as relevant and important as ever.

We offer our unique, singularly qualified perspective on candidates’ efforts and stance on the toll issue.  We are a non-partisan organization, and therefore do not endorse or oppose candidates.  We wrote this as a group. Here is our take:

Senate District 41

Jeff Tarte

Positives: Tarte has been a vocal opponent of the toll project since 2015.  He has made numerous public statements and given several interviews where he has expressed his opposition to the project. He introduced legislation in the Senate to cancel the contract and provide a means for funding cancellation compensation. Tarte was a three-term Mayor of Cornelius.

Concerns: Tarte’s legislative efforts have yet to yield the outcomes we have hoped for.

Natasha Marcus

Positives: Marcus has been on record as opposing the I77 toll lanes since her first campaign in 2014. Marcus has stated she will work with Governor Cooper “to get the residents of North Mecklenburg a better deal by restoring the Governor’s authority to cancel the toll contract and appropriating the funds required to make immediate alterations to the project and to buy out the contract…”

Concerns: Outside of a couple of campaign statements, Marcus has not been visible in the toll fight.

House District 92

Debbie Ware

Widen I77 is unaware of any involvement by Ware on the toll issue.

Chaz Beasley

Positives: Beasley has attended most if not all No Tolls presentations in the community. He has reviewed the toll contract and understands its implications.  Beasley has met with constituents in small groups to listen to concerns about this project and is willing to work across the aisle to pass legislation to stop the contract.

Concerns: As a member of the minority party, Beasley has had little opportunity to introduce and pass impactful legislation on the toll issue.

House District 98

Christy Clark

Widen I77 is unaware of any involvement by Clark on the toll issue.

John Bradford

Positives: Bradford has been a vocal toll opponent since 2015 and passed three anti-toll related bills in the House. He held out his budget veto override vote to pass a bill that would help fund contract cancellation costs, and authored and passed a study bill to determine how to bring fairness back into regional transportation planning. Bradford was a two-term Commissioner for the town of Cornelius.

Concerns: Bradford’s legislative efforts have yet to yield the outcomes we have hoped for.

County Commissioners at Large

Trevor Fuller

Positives: Fuller completed the Widen I77 survey and listened to multiple residents speak out against the project.

Concerns: Fuller is not willing to support money being used to terminate contract to support the needs of North Mecklenburg citizens.  Fuller also voted against the Mecklenburg County resolution asking Gov McCrory to cancel the contract in June 2015.

Pat Cotham

Positives: Cotham has been an early and dependable voice against the plans to build toll lanes on I-77. She attended meetings in Cornelius and Huntersville and invested the time necessary to educate herself on the issue. She has worked diligently to oppose the plan since then. Her efforts include trips to Raleigh, participating in the rallies on the Exit 28 bridge overpass, talking to Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper regarding the project, attending NCDOT meetings, CRTPO meetings, anti-toll fundraisers, the court case, supporting the anti-toll resolution on the Board of County Commissioners, and volunteering to be a member of the Toll Advisory Board. We are grateful for her enthusiastic support.

Concerns: None.

Jeremy Brasch

Widen I77 is unaware of any involvement by Brasch on the toll issue.

Ella Scarborough

Positives: Scarborough called for a 90-day delay to the project after opponents discovered the 50-year non-compete clause in 2015. She also supported directing the CRTPO delegate to vote against the project prior to financial close in 2015.

Concerns: As an at-large Commissioner, Scarborough has done little since 2015 to add her voice for her North Meck constituents on the toll issue.

County Commissioner District 1

Elaine Powell

Positives: Powell states she will represent the voices of the community and concerns of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Concerns: Powell stated in an April 2018 candidate questionnaire that she has not been involved in any organized toll opposition.

Jim Puckett

Positives: Puckett has tirelessly fought to cancel the I77 toll project and replace it with general purpose lanes. As a native of the area, he has an historical perspective of the project and voiced his objections based on negative economic effects, social inequality, and the stated fact the project would NOT reduce congestion. Among all Charlotte, County and State elected representatives, no one has worked harder to end this contract and put sanity into our regional transportation planning than Puckett.

Concerns: None.

Widen I77 is a citizen’s organization dedicated to widening I77 through the Lake Norman region with general purpose lanes.  Not affiliated with any candidate, party or campaign.

7 Responses to WI77 evaluates the candidates on the I77 toll issue

  1. Jay Privette says:

    Widen I77, a great group fighting for what is best for their community. Stop this cancer before it spreads.

  2. Dennis Watkins says:

    Thank you for the info. I will definitely vote for those opposing the toll road and associated terrible agreement.

    The vote against the toll supporters is a significant weapon against those prospering from this mess that punishes those of us on 77 north of CLT.

  3. Derrick Bost says:

    You guys are amazing! I was getting worried about how I would vet all the state and local candidates before Election Day. This is extremely helpful. Those who have not passionately fought against this crony capitalism crisis/economic nuke have not done enough to protect NC citizens.

  4. Matt says:

    Bradford and Tarte both flip fopped on the issue. They were the people that supported the tolls early on and gave us this monster.

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    Please stop the toll it’s already hard enough to travel around this beautiful state, make it $6 to go one way and that will become impossible. I-77 is a heart valve and the toll will not only destroy our economy but also our property. Built the toll and the citizens will tear it down, mark our words.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The politicians are wasting the tax payers’ time and money. The toll project will never be cancelled. (I am an insider on this project). Fact: The state officials set aside $350m as a contingency to make changes to the toll project. That same account now has $0. (Where did it go?)
    Fact: There has been a proposal to raise fuel and food taxes (maybe property taxes) to cover the mentioned $350m again to try to negotiate a change to have only one toll lane.
    Fact: The tolls will allow out-of-state drivers help pay the for the construction and maintenance of the highway with no burden to the tax payers now.
    Fact: I-77 Mobility Partners will be penalized if the traffic speed falls below a certain threshold (45mph) and will be required to get it moving rapidly.
    I live here. I was opposed to the tolls until there was a hint my taxes were going up as an alternative to cover this over-one-half billion dollar project. Then I did a little research and saw the tolls were not a terrible idea after all. I saw that this project was being used by politicians as a bargaining chip. The tolling equipment is being installed and will soon be live.

  7. Jeff Lyon says:

    Too little too late for my input but I’d like to share my thoughts anyway. who were the non-elected bureaucrats that decided these toll lanes were such a good idea? It looks like you elected officials had little to no interest in stopping this obvious money grab. Someone needs to be held accountable for these decisions and these toll lanes are not going to solve any problems. Get rid of the toll booths! They are not a solution.

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