I-66 Comments

“It is shocking that the I-66 project has not been killed off by responsible legislators during this time of financial desperation.

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. That’s more than Bush is giving Bechtel to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure.

At $42 million a mile, this has to be the most expensive highway ever built. KICK 66 estimates that the $1.6 billion is more than enough to GOLD PLATE the entire 33-mile stretch of highway.

I-66 is a waste Financial Feasibility Studies must be conducted by independent degreed economists and proof must be shown that there will be a sufficient return in this investment.

Gas taxes will need to be raised to support this unprecedented splurge on road building. Kentucky residents WILL NOT support an increase in gas taxes.

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. Where is the Financial Plan for the Pikeville to King Coal Highway project?

The cost estimate is very incomplete and the state truly has no idea where the money is going to come from. $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.

If officials want to improve the economy in Pike County, why not just give each resident $18,000. That might be a better way to spend that $1.6 billion.

Last July, the Virginia State Auditor audited Va DOT’s 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 $$ 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 is KY 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 Coldstream Research Park and other vacant industrial sites throughout the state disprove this theory. The London Sentinel-Echo reported recently that tourism has increased in the London-Somerset 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.

I-66 is not needed and will NOT make travel safer. In fact, an increase of accidents will be seen if this highway is built without improving the inadequate secondary roads. Traffic studies are mentioned in the report, but the data to back up the numbers are not included.

If the coal trucks need improved access in this state LET THE COAL COMPANIES PAY FOR IT!! Public comment is mentioned in the report, but the Court Reporter transcripts are not included in Appendix A of the DEIS or FEIS although the FEIS states they are.

You should 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.
Local folks in the proposed construction corridor want to save their land, not pave it! The 314 people who attended public meetings and the 64 who voiced comments in this region prove that inadequate measures were used to inform the public about this project.

I-66 WILL FURTHER DAMAGE THE ENVIRONMENT. Treasures should be protected, NOT “mitigated”: The Daniel Boone National Forest and Mammoth Cave National Park, other surface and subterranean natural wonders, and the traditional, healthy human communities are in jeopardy of extinction if I-66 is built.”

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Author: kick66

Alliance against the wasteful I-66 construction in Kentucky.

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