“In reviewing the FEIS for the Appalachian Corridor (I-66) I was surprised to see an assertion that there have been no areas of controversy identified and
no controversial issues raised by the public. As a Kentuckian, I am concerned about the cost for this highway, how the highway will be financed, the necessity for another interstate through this region, and the
effects it will have on the Daniel Boone National Forest and Mammoth Cave National Park, other surface and subterranean natural wonders, and the traditional, healthy human communities that are in jeopardy of extinction if I-66 is
I understand that 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, making it a “Megaproject”
at a hefty $42 million a mile.
Megaprojects require a Financial Plan before construction, identifying 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, and what other projects won’t get done if the megaproject is pursued.
Where is the Financial Plan for the Pikeville to King Coal Highway project? Furthermore, by designing the proposed I-66 in segments, with each segment costing in the millions, where will funding for the other segments come from? The 43-mile stretch of proposed I-66 from Somerset to London is
already estimated to cost an average of $22 million/mile.
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 says project proponents 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.
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?
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.
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.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter which affects all Kentuckians.”