In the aftermath last week's "I77 Summit", the region's primary transportation planning body, the CRTPO, has become the center of attention when it comes to the I77 HOT lanes project.
The Governor is hiding behind the group, saying the only way he'll consider stopping the project is if the CRTPO tells him to do it. The NCDOT is saying any newly constituted CRTPO body would not be able to reasonably decide the issue quickly because the body could have several new faces after this month's elections. If any actionable item did come out of the "Summit", it was Rep Charles Jeter's stated intention to file a bill to reduce Charlotte's influence in the CRTPO when the Legislature reconvenes for its short session next year. The Charlotte Observer has even recognized that the City's decision to skip the summit looks bad and jeopardizes the legitimacy its current setup as a decision making body.
Charlotte has long used its weighted voting power to effectively make decisions in all but unilateral fashion for the entire region. As we said in this story here back in 2013, Charlotte often acts like the playground bully effectively saying "we'll take our ball and go home if we don't get our way".
Frankly, there has been little that individuals can do about that setup. That is, up until now.
WidenI77.org is encouraging the public to send the below email (or any respectful email of your choosing) to the Federal Department of Transportation before December 15. The quadrennial review period for the CRTPO is currently underway at the Federal level and the DOT is taking comments.
Send your email to Loretta.Barren@dot.gov and let the Feds know how the current setup is effectively allowing Charlotte to milk the surrounding region while not allowing the surrounding region an effective mechanism to stop it - or at least to be treated fairly.
Sample email below...