Guest Opinion. Lately we’ve heard some local officials say the I-77 toll issue is dividing our community. I couldn’t disagree more.
One of the most positive things to come out of this controversy is how our community came together in opposition of this ill-conceived project. Over 7,000 people “like” Widen I-77’s facebook page, more than any of the Lake Norman towns. Hundred of business owners signed a petition voicing their opposition. The Lake Norman towns, along with Iredell and Mecklenburg counties, passed 10 resolutions either questioning the project or demanding its termination outright. Websites and blogs sprouted up, each with a different take on why this project is wrong for our region but united in their opposition. One blog post garnered a staggering 43,000 views.
The creative ways in which our community supports this cause continue to amaze me. We’ve held cookouts and silent auctions. Businesses have sponsored everything from hot dog eating contests to t-shirt and bumper sticker sales to simply donating a portion of their proceeds. And even as I write this today a group of local business leaders are heading to Raleigh. They’ll press the case for cancellation with key members of the legislature.
As one who has fought this battle for nearly three years, developments like these keep me going. But there’s still more to do.
Right now it looks like the hearing for our lawsuit will be sometime this fall. The heart of our case is that the project, with its 50-year contract effectively eliminating any further I-77 improvements, does not serve the public interest. Local businesses and leaders can really bolster this argument by filing an affidavit and donating to help fund our legal fees.
But even more helpful would be businesses joining our lawsuit itself. This adds credibility to our conversations in Raleigh would be demonstrable evidence of our public interest argument. We’re grateful for the petition signatures, but what’s really going to make a difference are businesses stepping up in the ways I just mentioned.
If you’re a local business leader won’t you make a difference today? Upon request we’ll send you an affidavit form and instructions. We can put you in touch with our attorney. Just send us an email at email@example.com. Because 50 years is a long time.
Kurt Naas is the founder and spokesman for Widen I-77. He is also vice president of Aline Corp., Concord.