“Change is Inevitable, Highways are Not” Roadshow

12/15/03 In early November, Karyn Moskowitz, a nationally prominent resource economist/environmentalist presented her documentary, “Change is Inevitable, Highways Are Not” to many groups along the proposed I-66 route in Kentucky. The film documented four different Appalachian communities and how they have fought against road-building projects in their areas. This film has helped many to see the destruction that roads bring and what has worked for others, and what has not. On behalf of KICK 66, I would like to publicly thank Ms. Moskowitz for her generosity of devoting her time, expertise and efforts.

There was a good turnout in many of these communities, especially in London. There are many citizens who are opposed to I-66, a road that would displace homes and families and bulldoze through the Daniel Boone National Forest, a boon to the local community for providing recreation to many outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen and women, hunters, hikers, boaters, cavers, medicinal plant and mushroom gatherers and ORV’rs. Many tourism dollars come to local businesses from the DBNF. It is a local treasure that we all must fight to preserve.

Many say, “There’s LOTS of trees-so what if a few are cut down for a highway that will bring so many GREAT things to this region?” Well yes, there are a lot of trees. These trees provide a valuable service, removing carbon dioxide from the air, helping to clean and filter our water and prevent erosion and flooding. Most existing trees are young trees, as most of the “old growth” was clear cut in the early 1900’s in the name of “progress.” These trees also provide valuable habitat for thousands of other vital species, which could be exterminated by removing those trees. Think about this, is it possible that the pine beetle and other insect infestations might have happened because of destruction of their habitat, so they moved, en masse, elsewhere?

KICK 66 is much bigger than a few locals here in London & Somerset. There are many state and national environmental protection groups that are behind us, The Sierra Club, Heartwood and the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) just to name a few. Prominent scientists, environmentalists and litigators are involved. KICK 66 groups have formed along the proposed route in Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois and Missouri.

We need YOU to become involved. Some people think that I-66 is a “done deal,” why bother? I-66 is a proposed road that is being studied, nothing more. Some people erroneously think that I-66 is the “magic bullet” that will bring those wished for high-paying manufacturing jobs. Unfortunately, people from all over this country who have lost their high-paying manufacturing jobs that moved to Mexico or India will tell you that it just won’t happen. Jobs may come as a result of I-66, but to make ends meet, you will still have to work a double shift at the new Burger King (and other fast food joints/gas stations) that’ll be built, because that is what the road will bring, a bunch of minimum wage jobs. Meanwhile, the Burger King (and other fast food joints/gas stations) in town will probably close as a result of travelers bypassing the I-75/80 intersection and the town of London. Heck, there may even be a new Kroger’s to work at, but that might be tough what with all those new self-checkouts they’re installing. Just think, those self-checkouts don’t need health benefits, never take a sick day, can automatically calculate correct change and are always on the job, not gossiping with their co-workers! Finally, and probably most important, we need people from east of I-75 to become involved.

I-66 was originally planned to be built on the eastern side first, from Daniel Boone/HR Pkwy, down to the weigh stations. The plans were changed due to anticipated local opposition because more people live on that eastern side. So the priority became Somerset/London, because there would be less opposition due to less population along that proposed route. Once Somerset/London I-66 becomes reality, well, they’ll just HAVE to continue on the eastern side! Many say, “That’s OK-I’ll just move, can’t stand in the way of progress.” Is I-66 REALLY progress? Is that what “progress” is all about? More pavement creating impervious surfaces, causing runoff of pollutants and flooding. More minimum wage jobs so our kids will still have to leave home to find better paying jobs elsewhere? Even Lexington has experienced an outflux of people seeking better paying jobs in metropolitan areas and an influx of people working for lower pay (thus contributing less money to the local economy). Many people think they have hit the jackpot, the state will pay LOTS of money for my land. Think again, you will get appraised value and not a penny more. If your property is taken by eminent domain you’ll be lucky to get that. Also any profits made on the sale of property taken by eminent domain is subject to Kentucky capital gains tax, be sure to hire a good accountant!

Many say, “they’re going to spend the money somewhere, better here than somewhere else.” Those people just don’t get it. THERE IS NO MONEY FOR I-66. Our gas taxes will have to be raised to pay for it. We already pay some .35 extra per gallon for federal and state taxes. How much extra would YOU be willing to pay for a gallon of gas to build I-66?

The next London/Somerset KICK 66 meeting will be held at the Laurel County Public Library in London on Monday, December 8 at 6:00 p.m. Please join us in our efforts to stop this waste of our farms, families, funds, forests and future! If you can’t attend but would like to comment or find out more, please visit the KICK 66 website at http://www.KICK66.org

Who Will Benefit?

Who Will Benefit?

KTC CONTINUES TO BE INVOLVED IN SCANDALS-NEWEST IS THE HIRING SCANDAL- WORKERS VIEWING PORN-ROAD BUILDER’S ILLEGAL COAL MINING-NOW SOMERSET BYPASS RE-ROUTED OVER KTC WORKERS PROPERTY-OH YEA-FON’T FORGET THE MULTI- MILLION DOLLAR PALACE BUILT FOR THE KTC-WHEN A PERFECTLY GOOD BJILDING ALREADY EXISTED FOR THEM! THAT’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT! EVEN THE RE-NAMING OF THE DANIEL BOONE PARKWAY-HARDLY THE PUBLIC WILL, RATHER, THE BROWN-NOSING TRANSPORTATION OFFICIAL’S DECISION TO STAY IN THE “TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES” POLITICIAN’S GOOD GRACES AMIDST ALL THE TURMOIL AND SINKING, SINKING, SINKING IN THE DEEP MUCK HAPPENING NOW IN THE TRANSPORTATION CABINET-I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THE REAL REASONS ARE EXPOSED FOR BUILDING I-66 (HINT-ITS NOT IMPROVING THE ECONOMY UNLESS YOU COUNT THE LAND SPECULATORS & ROAD BUILDERS AND THE FEW MINIMUM WAGE JOBS COMING OUR WAY-JOBS THAT WILL BE TAKEN AWAY FROM A WORKER IN TOWN WHEN THE BUSINESS CLOSES, OH YEA AND THE BIG MONEY DONATIONS TO THE POLITICIANS INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT FROM THEIR BEST BUDDIES THE ROAD BUILDING CONTRACTORS, AND ITS NOT JUST TO SAVE 7 MINUTES OF DRIVING TIME FROM SOMERSET TO LONDON!

They’d Like To Pave Paradise ‘n Put Up I-66 (oooo, bop, bop, bop, bop…)

“Forgive me if this is a duplication and forgive me Joni Mitchell for the plagiarism:
Don’t It Aways Seem To Go That You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone…They’d Like To Pave Paradise ‘n Put Up I-66 (oooo, bop, bop, bop, bop….)

BTW
I’ve been collecting articles from local MO and IL newspapers if anyone is interested. Can’t print them here or I’d be breaking some law. But to make a long story short, IL Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary David Phelps (and someone from Metropolis) have resurrected what was previously stone cold dead IL Govermment interest. After an open forum, public opinion was stated to be says 64 percent of 760 people recently polled supported the proposed Interstate’s route across southern Illinois. Phelps added that 28 people said the interstate shouldn’t be built at all and four were undecided” Too bad more opposition was not available.

I-66, an unnecessary road

“I-66 an unnecessary road
My family has lived in Eastern Kentucky for almost 200 years. Lots of change in that time, especially in travel. The new roads built in the 1900s opened up the mountains and made trips shorter and easier. The roads eased a burden of isolation that prevented progress in education and jobs.
Route 80 is just such a highway. The trip from Pikeville to Somerset now takes much less time and is widely used by personal autos and trucks loaded with coal and lumber. It has not eased the unemployment in the mountains and that region still lags the rest of the country.
Now there is a proposal to build I-66 from the Kentucky border to Somerset. One of the stated objectives is to create jobs. Other than jobs for construction, there is no data that support this will happen. The existing highway is in place and would work, if it would be maintained adequately.
For all those who complain about tax burdens by government, this is a chance to stop an unnecessary road, prevent damage to a unique area of our state, and force the politicians to focus on the real reasons why we still need jobs.”

“Why is it cut into small segments like salami???” “YER OUTTA ORDER!!!”

8/26/03 “We need an overall theme: The Baghdad Bypass: $14 billion dollars of Pork. While all of us have been focused on the conquest of Baghdad and the rebuilding of Iraq for $140 billion of our tax dollars, Mitch McConnell, Paul Patton, and Ron Lewis have found a way to build a four lane bypass around Baghdad through Kentucky. While KY’s roads go to gravel and suffer from neglect, the politicians and contractors are quietly making a no-demand, no-traffic proposed road look like the peoples’ choice. Who benefits from I-66? Politicians and contractors highjacking millions of dollars of profit from unbid contracts. Here’s how they do it: They get bunches of ordinary people to look at fancy maps and diagrams. Just vote where you think the road should go, says the DOT.
DON’T ASK WHY BUILD IT AT ALL (Yer outa order!)
DON’T ASK HOW MUCH IT WILL COST (Yer outa order!)
DON’T ASK WHY NOT FIX THE ROADS WE’VE GOT? (Yer outa order!)
DON’T ASK WHY IS IT CUT INTO SMALL SEGMENTS LIKE SALAMI? (Yer outa order!)
DON’T ASK HOW MANY LOCAL BUSINESSES AND DOWNTOWNS WILL GO BUST? (Yer outa order!)

Think about it: If Sadaam wanted to bankrupt America, wouldn’t he build a new four lane road accross Kentucky for $14 billion? America’s DEBT is $6.4 trillion. Politicians want to raise that debt limit to more than $11 trillion.
Who will pay for this road NOBODY needs? You, your children, your children’s children, long after the road has turned to gravel like the rest of Kentucky’s roads.

Roger”

Also don’t forget — we refer to the far eastern segment of I66 as “The Highway Paved With Gold” due to its high cost. Let us know what other names we can call the illegal segments

“My wife and I have a small farm here in Shopville, and have looked forward to retiring here, and enjoying our little place. I was just informed the highway will take our bottom and hay fields, and that will ruin our farm. I have been against this from day one. If I can help please let me know.”

“I am in 7th grade and this year I have to do an editorial piece. I chose to do my editorial on I-66 because I have very strong feelings about the subject. Whenever I think of the government tearing through our beautiful forest, streams, animal habitats and much more anger builds up in me. It hurts me to think of children in the future that have to live in a polluted town. I’m behind you all of the way and would like to say good job on the website. You’re doing a great thing.
Keep up the good work,”
A Very Bright Young Lady (name withheld), London Kentucky, South Laurel Middle School, who hopefully will go on to become a Kentucky Legislator!

I-66 What A Waste!

I would like to state my strong opposition to the proposed I-66 in KY. Way back when, there was some talk by the US Government about having an interstate run from Fresno, CA to Washington, D.C. A $1 million Congressional feasibility study determined that Interstate 66 was not needed; the current interstate traffic grid already handled traffic needs sufficiently and it was not economically feasible because the highway construction costs exceeded the travel benefits. But thanks to the politicians in Frankfort, who may or may not have any special interest in seeing our tax dollars go to this road (I suspect the former), and who managed to sneak in Congressional approval for the KY segment; our tax dollars ($22.5 million in FY 2002) have been appropriated for this road from Paducah to Pikeville.
Officials say that $2.2 billion is to be spent on Appalachian transportation needs over the next five years, but the proposed Route 66 is estimated to cost a huge $5 billion (or more) for the 420 mile stretch of road. Now I’m no great mathematician, but that averages out to be a WHOPPING $12 million dollars (or more) per mile! Just the 43 mile stretch from Somerset to London alone is estimated to average $22 million/mile. Our illustrious leaders say that this road is needed, that it would bring Appalachia to the “front porch” of the nation. They go on to predict great economic benefits, increasing employment and earnings to the region. It may attract some businesses, are there any assurances from our leaders? If a few more gas stations and fast food places are built, will that benefit the local economy or just take business awayfrom existing ones?
People currently traveling along other roads may take the new interstate, causing devastating losses to existing businesses along other roads and further contributing to unemployment and the blight and sprawl that is already so visible here. The money that is going to this new road is taking away from funds available for repairing/upgrading existing roads. Many people traveling along Route 80 & 75 agree with me that the state could better use some of that money to fix existing roads. In short, the money spent for this “Road to Nowhere” will not bring any rewards to us KY citizens.
How will the “Poor Appalachia” communities described by the politicians benefit in any way? Consultants, land speculators and big contractors will make money, but I don’t believe it will benefit the average citizen. If the segment from Somerset to London is built through the Daniel Boone National Forest (our property, this land that belongs to all of us Americans), reports predict that it will cut the travel time from Somerset to London by about nine minutes (averaging 70 mph) and would be less than two miles shorter than the current Route 80. BUT, the report fails to mention that this limited access highway would only be accessible in certain locations, you will probably end up driving miles out of your way to get onto it. And you may well have to pay a toll. People NOT using the road may need to go around the highway, increasing their travel time. So exactly where are these savings? People who don’t own cars and people who do not drive highway speeds, like our senior citizens will certainly not benefit.
What about the costs associated with the deforestation of the Daniel Boone National Forest? Or the risks involved in building atop the topography of this cave and karst abundant region? Who will pay for the probable contamination to our drinking water from the asphalt and runoff of pollutants? Other losses which, to me, are priceless are loss of the natural forest, endangered species, recreational areas, and degradation of the environment caused by the increase in noise and air pollution.
Another argument has been made that the money has been appropriated for this road and if it is not used for this purpose, it must be given back to the Federal Government. During these dark days in our nation’s history, I personally would rather see this extra money going to fighting the War on Terrorism, educating our children, taking care of our Senior Citizens and our Men and Women in the Military than building a road. Just imagine what a few extra billion dollars of our tax money could do to help areas with much higher priorities than this Interstate.
I call this area home because of its natural unspoiled beauty. I love the Daniel Boone National Forest, Cane Creek WMA, Laurel Lake, Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, Cumberland Falls and the other local recreational areas. I am quite happy to travel Route 80, 75 & 25 to get where I need to go between Somerset, London & Corbin (a route which I travel daily). I just don’t think tourists will be any more drawn to the State Parks & Resorts just because of this new road. They’ll be whizzing through here at 70 mph and might blink and miss the signs! Why not just increase advertising dollars, it would be much less costly and more effective. If the traffic increases will happen in the next 25 years, as predicted, let’s improve existing KY roads! Many people are attracted to this area for the beautiful and scenic natural environment, NOT the sprawl and the new super-highway.
In my opinion, “Industrial Development” ought to be renamed “Industrial Redevelopment” and attract existing and new businesses to the already developed vacant properties, rather than building new ones. Once the forest is bulldozed and paved, it can’t be brought back. Likewise, the existing roads in this state are perfectly adequate for getting from one side of the state to the other. So I ask you, my neighbors, do you want further sprawl or do you want to use/improve what is already here? Its time to STOP THE INSANITY! Caring citizens must stand up to “City Hall” and to those who stand to profit from this multi-billion dollar blunder. Voice your opinion! Maybe you, like me, care deeply but weren’t able to attend any of the public meetings and never saw a petition. Please visit http://www.kick66.org for more information and to voice your opinion which will be shared with the officials involved. Email us at kick66org@yahoo.com. Mail your comments to: P.O. Box 1133, London, KY 40743. Or write a letter to the politicians or the Editor of your local paper. I urge you to make your voice be heard!

Sources: Southern KY Corridor I-66: Is it Economically Justified by Karyn Moskowitz, MBA
http://www.interstate66.com

This isn’t California!

“I have lived in Laurel County for 5 years & I still marvel at how empty the roads are. People who drive in Lexington probably think the traffic there is bad. They should try sitting on a California freeway, waiting to inch forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic! I used to live in California, and it took me almost two hours to commute 42 miles to work-40 freeway miles-and Kentucky is spending billions of dollars to shave off a few minutes travel time for tourists driving from Somerset to London?? – Oh please!!! Hwy. 80 is empty, with fast-moving traffic (usually well over the speed limit!). If it was crawling, bumper-to-bumper traffic, then expanding Hwy 80 would make sense (more so than Rt 66). In fact, if they want to be forward-thinking, the planners would wisely have expanding Hwy. 80 on their agenda. People do not travel to this area of Kentucky looking to break the sound barrier on the highway, they are here for the (as yet) unspoiled beauty of the area. However, if they are speed-demons, they will be thrilled at driving on Hwy. 80. They may have to slack off the gas pedal when they reach town. Good. Maybe they will stop, eat, shop, stay overnight. As regards to “economic benefits” of Rt. 66-I am sure many pockets will be filled during the research & construction. However, if, as I understand it, Rt. 66 will by-pass Somerset & London, will the local merchants not lose money? How is the present tourist information center by I-75 & W 80 going to serve all of those tourists anticipated on Rt. 66? I should like to know if any of the people involved in the Rt. 66 brainchild have ever driven from Somerset to London on Hwy. 80. Have they ever driven in any real traffic?? Chances are, most people in Kentucky, and certainly most local people, have no idea how ludicrous this whole proposition is, and what a waste of Kentucky’s money. Never mind “Kick 66” I think our boots should be aimed at the greedy powers-that-be behind it!

Response to Courier Journal’s I-66 Article 2/26/2006

thebigmapThanks to Jim Bruggers, award winning environmental reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal for his FRONT PAGE piece on I-66 2/26/06. In the same paper, there was an article on selling the DBNF and the BIOTERRISM LAB right here in Somerset-OH BOY! VOTERS WAKE UP! Small wonder the League of Conservation Voters rates ALL Kentucky legislators (except ONLY Ben Chandler who has a very  admirable 98%) at ZERO! Until we get some more conservation candidates I will be sure to vote for “NONE OF THE ABOVE”

Thank you Jim Bruggers for your report on I-66. I think it was a fair and balanced assessment. I would like to state my strong opposition to the proposed I-66 in KY. Back in the day of government surpluses, there was some talk by the US Government about having an interstate run from Fresno, CA to Washington, D.C. A $1 million Congressional feasibility study determined that Interstate 66 was not needed; the current interstate traffic grid already handled traffic needs sufficiently and it was not economically feasible because the highway construction costs exceeded the travel benefits. But thanks to the local politicians, who may or may not have any special interest in seeing our tax dollars go to this road (I suspect the former), and who managed to sneak in Congressional approval for the KY segment; our tax dollars (millions so far just on feasibility studies) have been appropriated for I-66 from Paducah to Pikeville. Existing east-west interstates I-64 and I-40 already handle traffic needs sufficiently. These east west interstates are only about 3 hours apart. I-66 would be built in the middle of the two existing east-west interstates. Officials say that $2.2 billion is to be spent on Appalachian transportation needs over the next five years, but the proposed Route 66 is estimated to cost a huge $5 billion (or more) for the 420 mile stretch of road. Now I’m no great mathematician, but that averages out to be a WHOPPING $12 million dollars (or more) per mile! Just the 43 mile stretch from Somerset to London alone is estimated to average $22 million/mile. Our illustrious leaders say that this road is needed, that it would bring Appalachia to the “front porch” of the nation. They go on to predict great economic benefits, increasing employment and earnings to the region. It may attract some businesses, are there any assurances from our leaders? If a few more gas stations and fast food places are built, will that benefit the local economy or just take business away from existing ones? I remember the man who cried because his son had to work two shifts at the Kroger-he wants good paying jobs to come here. Well if I-66 is built maybe he could work a third shift at the McDonalds, because that’s all the business that it will attract – low paying minimum wage jobs. London is blessed to have attracted the baking and automotive industries. There are jobs for people who want to work. But with a 38% disability rate, and a high high school drop out rate, existing businesses have a hard time filling vacancies with qualified people. People currently traveling along other roads may take the new interstate, causing devastating losses to existing businesses along other roads and further contributing to unemployment and the blight and sprawl that is already so visible here. The money that is going to this new road is taking away from funds available for repairing/upgrading existing roads. Many people traveling along Route 80 & 75 and existing local roads agree with me that the state could better use some of that money to fix existing roads. These are “Killer Roads” with no shoulders or lines painted on them, some with culverts & ditches on both sides, not even wide enough for 2 cars to safely pass. These are the roads that locals travel every day, I-66 will not make these killer roads any safer, these roads will not be linked to I-66. In short, the money spent for this “Road to Nowhere” will not bring any rewards to us regular KY citizens. How will the “Poor Appalachia” communities described by the politicians benefit in any way? Consultants, land speculators and big contractors will make money, but I don’t believe it will benefit the average citizen. If the segment from Somerset to London is built through the Daniel Boone National Forest (our property, this land that belongs to all of us Americans), reports predict that it will cut the travel time from Somerset to London by about nine minutes (averaging 70 mph) and would be less than two miles shorter than the current Route 80. BUT, the report fails to mention that this limited access highway would only be accessible in certain locations, you will probably end up driving miles out of your way to get onto it. And you may well have to pay a toll. People NOT using the road may need to go around the highway, increasing their travel time. So exactly where are these savings? People who don’t own cars and people who do not drive highway speeds, like our senior citizens will certainly not benefit. What about the costs associated with the deforestation of the Daniel Boone National Forest? Or the risks involved in building atop the topography of this cave and karst abundant region? Who will pay for the probable contamination to our drinking water from the asphalt and runoff of pollutants? Who will pay for the sinkholes that inevitably will develop? Other losses which cannot be assigned a price tag are loss of the natural forest, endangered species, recreational areas, and degradation of the environment caused by the increase in noise and air pollution.
Another argument has been made that the money has been appropriated for this road and if it is not used for this purpose, it must be given back to the Federal Government. During these dark days in our nation’s history, I personally would rather see this extra money going to fighting the War on Terrorism, educating our children, taking care of our Senior Citizens and our Men and Women in the Military and Katrina victims than building a road. Just imagine what a few extra billion dollars of our tax money could do to help areas with much higher priorities than this Interstate. And besides WHERE IS THE MONEY? Its not there!!!! Do you want your children, children’s children etc. to pay for this? Another argument that has been made is WE WANT SHOPPING & RESTAURANTS! There are plenty of existing areas that could be developed along 80 and 192 in London. And you still have to drive to Richmond or Jellico if you want package goods. In this day of the internet, many more people are shopping online than ever, there is not such a need for traditional retailers. I call this area home because of its natural unspoiled beauty. That’s what brought me here to Kentucky from Pennsylvania. I love the Daniel Boone National Forest, Cane Creek WMA, Laurel Lake, Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, Cumberland Falls and the other local recreational areas. I am quite happy to travel Route 80, 75 & 25 to get where I need to go between Somerset, London & Corbin (a route which I travel daily). I just don’t think tourists will be any more drawn to the State Parks & Resorts just because of this new road. They’ll be whizzing through here at 70 mph and might blink and miss the signs! Why not just increase tourism advertising dollars, it would be much less costly and more effective way to attract tourists to the region. If the traffic increases will happen in the next 25 years, as predicted, let’s improve existing KY roads! Most people are attracted to this area for the beautiful and scenic natural environment, NOT the sprawl and the new super-highway. In my opinion, “Industrial Development” ought to be renamed “Industrial Redevelopment” and attract existing and new businesses to the already developed vacant properties, rather than building new ones. Over 200 vacant industrial sites currently exist in Kentucky. All of them are looking for tenants. “If you build it they will come.” Well where are they? Once the forest is bulldozed and paved, it can’t be brought back. Likewise, the existing roads in this state are perfectly adequate for getting from one side of the state to the other. So I ask you, my neighbors, do you want further sprawl or do you want to use/improve what is already here? Its time to STOP THE INSANITY! Caring citizens must stand up to “City Hall” and to those who stand to profit from this multi-billion dollar blunder. I think Hal Rogers just wants to cut his travel time to Washington DC. Voice your opinion! Maybe you, like me, care deeply but aren’t able to attend any of the public meetings and never saw a petition. Please visit http://www.kick66.org for more information and to voice your opinion which will be shared with the officials involved. Visit our website at http://www.kick66.org Email us at kick66@hughes.net Mail your comments to: P.O. Box 1133, London, KY 40743. Or write a Letters to the Editors. Speak out against I-66! I urge you to make your voice be heard!