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Huntersville Votes To Drop Out Of Transportation Group

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Huntersville.org

Huntersville town commissioners have voted to drop out of a regional transportation group originally set up to give the Lake Norman area more clout on road and transit projects. It’s another sign of discontent over the NCDOT’s plan for toll lanes on I-77.

Eight years ago, the mayors of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville created the Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC) to improve planning and step up local lobbying for funding – which wasn’t flowing as they thought it should.

But on Monday, Huntersville commissioners voted 4 to 2 to withdraw from the group as of June 30.  

Commissioner Danny Phillips said the board is unhappy that the LNTC didn’t help fight the state transportation department’s plan for tolls on I-77.  

“You know, for me, yes it definitely had a little bit to do (with) I-77, and them not coming out in opposition of it,” Phillips said.

Some commissioners also were concerned about the cost of membership in the LNTC - $25,000 a year – and said it duplicates functions already handled by town staff.  And Phillips said it’s obsolete.

But I-77 tolls were the underlying issue. Last November, voters unseated the mayor and two board members over their support for the NCDOT’s plan to widen 26 miles of I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville using toll lanes.

Still, the commission’s executive director, Bill Thunberg, was surprised at the vote.

“The LNTC was created in the belief that there’s value in regional collaboration, and the Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission remains committed to regional collaboration on issues around transportation and land use in the Lake Norman area,” Thunberg said.

Huntersville commissioner Melinda Bales – who currently chairs the LNTC - voted against dropping out. She’s disappointed but hopes there’s still time for a compromise to keep Huntersville in the group.