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HOT Lane Proponents Disguise Truth


HOT lanes simply do not alleviate illustrated.

It is said that if you tell a lie over and over again, eventually you start believing it yourself.

This is clearly happening in the continued debate over high occupancy toll lanes (HOT lanes).

How many times have we been told that without the use of HOT lanes, widening on I-77 with general purpose lanes will take “25 years”?  That “there are no other options”?

Let’s list a few.

“If the option is to have toll lanes and start in the near future or wait 25-plus years for general purpose lanes, the decision is a no-brainer,” said Chuck Travis, chairman of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission.  LINK

“North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, though, says it would be 25 years or so before I-77 would be widened with traditional funding sources.” LINK

“I think the takeaway is that the option that is on the table, based on all the governmental framework we have in place and the current funding mechanisms available, the choice is (a high-occupancy toll lane) project … or no improvements to I-77 for 15 or 20 years,” said Thom Tillis.  LINK

I could go on and on.  The assumptions are out there that we’re looking at a 25 year total project, or even nothing at all done for 15 years, without HOT lanes.

I certainly won’t accuse people directly of lying, but often once something enters the narrative and gets repeated, the truth seems to get lost in the shuffle.

The following PDF file provided to PunditHouse is a letter written from the NCDOT to an elected official in January of this year.

While clearly pushing forward with the HOT lane decision, we learn on pages 4 and 5 that without HOT lanes and utilizing existing revenue streams, an entire project consisting of general purpose lanes could be completed around 2030, 17 years from now.

It should be noted that general purpose lane advocates are not endorsing a plan to widen the interstate from I-277 all the way to Exit 36.  The congested portion of the interstate begins just before Exit 23, so the entire $330 million project mentioned that could be completed by 2030 could actually have a major impact on traffic significantly sooner if the expensive and unnecessary portion of the road (south of I-85) either is built last or not at all.  Just start construction where the congestion actually is.

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What’s more telling is that a second approach was offered to construct general purpose lanes on I-77 to be completed by 2023, less than ten years from now, if other projects were put on hold or eliminated entirely.

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I wouldn’t suggest that there wouldn’t be political ramifications from proponents of the other projects, but for HOT lane advocates to sell their proposal as the “only” option is a disservice to the public dialogue.  Vocalize the options in full transparency and let us decide.  Don’t pretend they don’t exist.

And again, this assumption is for the much larger and unnecessary project.  The general purpose lane stretch from Exit 23 and north is estimated at between $80 and $130 million dollars.  With that figure in mind, the possible alternative project eliminations list would be smaller…or perhaps simple delay rather than eliminate.

What we are learning here is that we are not talking about resources, or a lack thereof.  Afterall, the public portion of the HOT lanes will be more than the general purpose lane cost.  We are talking about  priorities and honesty.

Leadership needs to stop expecting the disenfranchised public to come up with the solutions for them. That’s not our job.  If I had more time and didn’t already work four jobs I’d be happy to help.  Just stop presenting us with false choices while pushing Parsons Brinckerhoff’s agenda.

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