Curran, who is also president and CEO of the Bissell Cos, described the massive gap between available funding for road construction (roughly $15 billion) and the identified improvements necessary to improve mobility across the state of North Carolina ($70 billion).
This funding gap, Curran explained, was the reason the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) voted in 2011 to pursue a public-private partnership with I-77 Mobility Partners for the construction of 2 new managed lanes on the I-77 corridor between Mooresville and Uptown Charlotte. The contract means the state will only need to provide $180 million in funding for a road project projected to cost as much as $650 million. In addition, the use of a private contractor to design and build the new managed lanes means they will open by the end of 2018.
Curran was joined in his presentation by NCDOT public outreach director Warren Cooksey and I-77 Mobility Partners Director of Corporate Affairs Jean Leier, who helped explain how the new managed lanes will provide reliable travel times along I-77 for cars that are willing to pay the market-based, variable tolls. The new lanes will also allow express buses to travel the corridor, providing a mass transit alternative for residents in North Mecklenburg and southern Iredell counties.
The Charlotte City Council voted earlier this week to direct its CRTPO representative, Vi Lyles, to support the original managed lane strategy when the group votes on the policy January 20th. The vote was requested by Governor Pat McCrory, who asked regional leaders to affirm their support for the strategy in the face of heightened public opposition to the managed lane project.