Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Loop money: Will we get paid back?

A reader e-mailed this morning asking whether there was a downside to Gov. Bev Perdue's promise to start construction on the last piece of I-485 by the end of the year.

His theory: Charlotte is scheduled to get urban loop funds in 2015 for the five-mile highway segment, which will cost about $210 million. If Charlotte spends some of its own highway money now on the outerbelt, will it ever get that money back? Or will the state simply say thanks, pat us on the back, and shuffle the millions somewhere else?

I asked this last year when the idea of using money socked away for the Monroe Connector/Bypass was first floated. The answer among local DOT officials was, yes, we'll get paid back. They seemed aware of the possibility our loop money could vanish in a black hole, and said a deal would be codified with Raleigh.

I think a more likely scenario is that the date for Charlotte to be reimbursed for any Monroe Connector/Bypass money used might be pushed back a year or two as other cities such as Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Greenville build their outerbelts.

4 comments:

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

A question I have is if this loop money is worth spending at all. Is there a specific traffic problem addressed? Isn't it just aiding sprawl?

Ray said...

Is the I-485 expansion in the south between 77 and Johnston Rd (originally slated to be done at the same time as the final leg in the north) part of this, or no? The traffic jams in this area are simply terrible.

Steve Harrison said...

The widening of I-485 between I-77 and Johnston Road is scheduled to begin in 2015. The state had talked about using the shoulders during rush hour to relieve congestion, but the budget crunch has killed that plan, for now. I'm not sure if will be revived.

Dan said...

You're right, they seemed aware of the possibility our loop money could vanish in a black hole, and said a deal would be codified with Raleigh.

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