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Pressure's on...Interstate 485 timeline in the hands of MUMPO

The Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization last night heard from NCDOT officials on the impacts of their upcoming August decision on Charlotte transportation priorities.

NCDOT officials warned that if the completion of Interstate 485 is not the top priority of MUMPO - the project may not start until 2015.

Currently, MUMPO has the upgrade of 1.4 miles of Independence Blvd. to an expressway as their top construction priority. Construction of that project is set to begin in 2011.

In order to build the remaining miles of the I-485 Outer Loop sooner, funding from other projects would have to be moved into that project and the over $150 million improvements to Independence Blvd. (US 74) would make that happen.

In her 2008 campaign, Governor Beverly Perdue promised that construction of the missing I-485 link would begin in 2009 with completion in 2011 or 2012.

A blessing from MUMPO on I-485 would make it easier to move funds to that project.

MUMPO officials don't seem convinced after last night's meeting.

“We expected additional resources,” said Charlotte City Council member Anthony Foxx, a MUMPO member.

Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson said Perdue “left her checkbook at home.”

Story Link:

DOT Official: Another I-485 delay possible ---Charlotte Observer

Commentary:

Well, the political pressure from Raleigh will be hard and heavy on MUMPO members - as this was a big deal in Gov. Perdue's campaign. Throw in a strong distaste of many Charlotteans for Raleigh - in the various delays and political games with this route - makes this a very important decision. Not only for those in Charlotte, but for a number of people in Raleigh, too.

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