As the debate over toll lanes on I-77 has increased in the last year, the company that will build and operate those tolls had refused to answer WFAE questions about the project until financing was completed. The state announced May 20 that it had closed on those financing agreements with I-77 Mobility Partners. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.
With financing complete, the CEO of I-77 Mobility Partners, Javier Tamargo, agreed to an interview with WFAE’s Mark Rumsey. I-77 Mobility Partners is a subsidiary of the Spanish company Cintra Infrastructures, and has a 50-year contract with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to build, maintain and collect tolls on the expanded lanes from exit 36 in Mooresville to exit 10 near Uptown Charlotte.
The interview lasted roughly 25 minutes. What follows is the interview in its entirety, minus minor edits. Below that is the edited interview that aired during All Things Considered. We’ve also separated the audio for different topics that were discussed.
Tamargo says rates could change every five minutes, depending on traffic. He estimates drivers will pay between $1 and $4 to drive a 10-mile stretch of I-77, which he says will be a typical use of the toll lanes. For the entire 26 miles, Tamargo says drivers will pay 10 to 40 cents a mile. But, he adds:
“The way we see this project working, is not all the users will use the (toll) lanes for the whole length of the trip…Not every segment will have the same rate at any moment. Because of supply and demand, it will be very different.”
Other topics addressed by Javier Tamargo
"With managed lanes, everybody will need to find a way to accommodate...and trucks may need to see that conditions in the road are not congested...They will travel more at night. They will need to find a way on that."
"The return on our investment is in the order of 14 percent in terms of return on equity."