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Without TIGER II funding, I-77 HOT lanes in jeopardy

NCDOT's plan to convert the existing I-77 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes and extend them suffered a major setback earlier this month when the Federal Highway Administration did not award any TIGER II grant money for the project.

NCDOT had asked for a maximum of $30 million in grant money for the project.  2,500 applications were made for the $400 million in grant money.  Only 42 projects were awarded grant money.

The project would convert the existing I-77 HOV lanes to toll lanes and extended the single restricted lane northwards to Davidson (Exit 30).  The toll lanes would work similarly to HOV lanes as vehicles with two or more passengers, buses, and vanpools would be able to access the lanes for free.  Vehicles with one passenger would have to pay a toll.

The project is slated to be completed by 2014.

As a result of not receiving the funding NCDOT will have to come up with another plan to convert and extended the restricted lanes.  The currently under construction Yadkin River bridge replacement and widening project received less than expected TIGER funds last winter, and NCDOT was able to adjust funding schedules to start that project.  Something that local Charlotte leaders hope will also occur for the HOT lane project.

The state has not announced a timetable on when they will source the additional funding for the $50 million project.  Currently, the project has been granted $5 million in federal CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement) funding.

Story links:
I-77 HOT lanes lose funding ---Charlotte Observer

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