Charlotte isn't laughing. They've done nothing but complain about how they didn't have a full loop when Raleigh had one and is getting two. The thinking in Charlotte is that the Raleigh Beltline is a loop already. Charlotte has complained about Wilmington and Fayetteville loop projects as well. Especially during the Governor Easley administration.
As for the Raleigh Outer Loop being mismanaged? A lot of it has done with the lack of funding available as a result of the outdated 'equity formula'. The only reason 540 is toll in Southwestern Wake County is because it was the only means to build the highway.
The wrong number was the result of a FHWA Administrator saying that the highway had to be 540 because it didn't connect to another Interstate at the time.
You can argue that the handling of construction of the toll road and its operation since is mismanaged. But to say that it is mismanaged because half is free, half is toll, and it's a 5 instead of a 6 in front of it, is silly.
That's yet another example of the state's largest city bullying its capital city. In addition, Charlotte is overlooking one fact: It already has a loop highway of its own (I-277), even if it only serves downtown and surrounding areas. So, like Raleigh, it'll have two loop highways when the I-485 Outerbelt is finally done.
As for the complaints about I-540 and how it carries the wrong number, a lot of roadgeeks were convinced that the number is only temporary and will eventually change to I-640 after the entire loop is completed. But I-540 is still there, and most of us will probably fret if it connects back to I-40 south of Raleigh. I-520 is a similar example, but it gets away with reconnecting to its parent in another state.