Having reviewed the Final EIS, I believe this project is a total waste of taxpayers’ money. I-66 is an illegally segmented proposed coast-to-coast highway that is a WASTE of Kentucky’s FARMS – FORESTS – FUNDS – FAMILIES – FUTURE.
During this time of required fiscal responsibility, it is shocking that this I-66 project has not been killed off by some responsible legislators.
The price of the proposed 33-mile I-66 segment between US 23 in KY and the proposed King Coal Highway in WVA has more than doubled, from $735 million in 1997 to $1.6 billion today.
At $42 million a mile, this has to be the most expensive highway ever built.
“Megaprojects” coming to a neighborhood near you:
Nationwide, if the highway industry and big transportation engineering firms get their way, this country is about to embark on a wave of highway “megaprojects”–highway projects exceeding $1 billion in cost. Until
recently there’s only been a handful, but there are now more than 50 planned across the country to the tune of $100 billion. How are we going to pay for all this new concrete? The national highway industry is
proposing to raise gas taxes to support this unprecedented splurge on road building.
Megaprojects require a Financial Plan before construction. This is a detailed plan that identifies where the money is going to come from, what the risks to the public are if cost overruns occur or the funding sources
dry up, what other projects won’t get done if the megaproject is pursued, etc.
Ask the KY Transportation Cabinet: Where is the Financial Plan for the Pikeville to King Coal Highway project?
Looks like a scam, waddles like a scam, and quacks like a scam:
At the “decision to build” stage (end of the NEPA process), the cost estimate is very incomplete and the state truly has no idea where the money is going to come from. You can bet that $1.6 billion in one I-66
segment could easily become $2 billion, or more. A summer 2002 article in the Journal of the American Planning Association reviewed transportation projects for the past 90 years and concludes that initial cost
estimates are deliberately understated to get projects going and to get momentum. This professional article actually says project proponents lie about costs and use “salami tactics” showing project risks and costs “one slice at
a time” to make costs appear as low as possible for as long as possible.
Last July, the Virginia State Auditor audited Virginia’s DOT books and found its 6-yr highway plan a “wish list” since VDOT “promises to build roads without knowing whether it has the money to pay for them,” that the state does not track maintenance costs for its highways and instead
guesses how much maintenance money they’ll spend each year, that there is no accountability for cost overruns, etc. The state, in response and with support of the Governor, cut $3 billion from its 6-yr. highway plan.
Where is the Kentucky State Auditor?
And how are they going to pay for the NEXT segment? The 43-mile stretch of proposed I-66 from Somerset to London is already estimated to cost an average of $22 million/mile.
Statewide, the I-66 project, which will stretch 420 miles from WVA to Pikeville across Kentucky to Paducah and westward to MO, is estimated to cost $5 billion or more. Studies have shown that pre-construction estimates are generally 20% below the actual cost of the project. Several I-66
segments across KY are in the planning stages. How are these going to be paid for?
Who will benefit? Officials claim that I-66 will bring economic development and jobs to Appalachia and the rest of Kentucky, but with I-75, I-64 and I-40, another interstate is not needed in this region of the country. There is no proof that building this road will improve the economy. The London Sentinel-Echo reported recently that tourism has
increased in this region in the past two years. That has been accomplished without a $5 billion dollar road. This Federal money could be much better spent elsewhere. This road will only benefit campaign contributors: road construction companies, consultants, and land speculators.
They have known for years that I-66 is not financially feasible!
The 1997 Feasibility Study/Justification for I-66 and subsequent reports fail to justify the need or financial feasibility of I-66 in Kentucky. The inadequacy of the consultants to use up-to-date economic models, accurate statistics and commonly-held community values in determining whether or not I-66 is in the best interest of all Kentucky residents should trigger
the suspension of all further planning work until the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet can demonstrate that this project is financially feasible and economically justifiable.