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LNTC to meet after 2 towns exit

The Lake Norman Regional Transportation Commission will meet this Wednesday March 9 for the first time since two of the four member towns voted to pull out of the commission. This month’s meeting, by rotation, is in Cornelius, one of the towns which is leaving the four-town organization.

The future of the commission is very much up in the air, with half of its membership gone as of June 30. The departure of both Huntersville and Cornelius is more than just a policy issue; each town contributes 25 percent of the Executive Directors’ $80,000 annual salary. Davidson and Mooresville have yet to decide whether they will remain members.

Caught in the middle of all the controversy is LNTC Chairwoman Melinda Bales who also serves on the Huntersville Town Board. She took over the chair after the previous chairman Mac Herring died last March. Ironically, she is a member of the same town board which started the movement to break away from the commission; Bales voted against it.

“LNTC is fulfilling its purpose by working together with the towns identifying and focusing on transportation issues within our region.” she said. “It isn’t always easy. All the jurisdictions are united in that Lake Norman provides unique challenges and opportunities related to transportation and land use, and each of the jurisdictions does and should have their own community vision.”

Bales alluded to such events as their annual Transportation Summit as tasks which LNTC has continually performed successfully. Indeed, their most recent summit, held in Mooresville, attracted a record crowd of over 200 officials from Lake Norman to Raleigh.

However, she also admitted that there was room for improvement. “In retrospect regarding the I-77 toll lane issue, we could have done more to educate elected officials by providing additional opportunities for discussion. In the future, the LNTC should be more proactive in engaging each jurisdiction and creating additional opportunities for public involvement.”

Whether LNTC has a future, at least in its present format, remains in doubt.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 5 pm at Cornelius Town Hall on Catawba Avenue.

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