“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!
Thanks 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 email@example.com 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!
“I read Mr. Brugger’s article with keen interest. I am interested in both the environmental and economic aspects of this proposed project. As a person interested in the economic realities of the proposed project, perhaps he could encourage the individual who indicated a fairly optimistic 600% plus return on investment on construction and operation of the proposed highway to break down those gains on a line-item basis and detail who receives what portion of the gains which are realized. Certainly, those who own properties adjacent to highway interchanges stand to realize substantial profits from sales of these properties (bought cheaply in the past) in the future. Then there will be the proposed development of those properties. It would be of great interest to know to whom those properties belong to currently and compare this against a list of Rep. Roger’s campaign contributors past and present, and those who have ties to the local and county political power structures. Here in the Delaware River Basin where I live, there has been a prolonged effort to dredge the Delaware River from the ocean to Philadelphia and perhaps beyond. An initial economic study by the US Army Corps of Engineers suggested that there would be a certain necessary level of economic benefit for every dollar spent on the project – a necessary return on expenditure to justify the project. Subsequent analysis by environmental groups forced a re-analysis of this rosy economic picture by the USACE and resulted in a substantial restating of the return in expenditure in the downward direction – such that the project was no longer viable from an economic basis…Perhaps this sort of re-evaluation should begin with this project. A crucial initial study performed by the University of Kentucky during the 1990’s examined the premises of economic benefits and viability of the project. The first report was suppressed and the purported negative outcomes were never allowed to be examined by the public. Who caused this and why. Would this have resulted in the scrapping of the project at that point in time?? Secondly, there was a rather large acrimonious public debate which took place in the US House of Representatives between Rep. Rogers and Rep. Baesler during the 1990’s as to where the path of the proposed project would be blazed. Rep. Baesler proposed use of existing I-64. Rep. Rogers used his position and political power to squash this idea and write into the early legislation the highway corridor which is currently being investigated. Perhaps former Rep. Baesler would be interested in elaborating on this discussion and why the current route was chosen despite being less than 50 miles north in many places from existing interstate I-40 to the south and Interstate I-64 to the north. This sort of interstate highway density is not warranted by the population it purports to serve or it’s apparent lack of connectivity and destinations. Interestingly, the economic analyst who promoted the passage of proposed I-66 through London seemingly failed to mention that the passage of I-75 (a major North-South interstate) has not provided the London/Corbin area with major economic benefits. What basis is being used to suggest that a second interstate will be any better? The tourist areas of the Lake Cumberland, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and Daniel Boone National Forest are adequately served by the exiting highway systems present. There is little evidence that the proposed highway segments approved or planned will lift those people and areas impacted by poverty out of their current state. Some of this problem is geography. The Environmental Impact Statement for the Pikeville segment suggested this in it’s economic analysis when it discussed the lack of available suitable lands upon which to build factories or other employment-generating industries and businesses – much of this related to topography. However, given the progression of mountain-top removals for strip-mining purposes, this may be lack of suitable topography is changing. Additionally, I find it unlikely that the true costs of habitat and species destruction during construction and operation of the proposed project have been adequately calculated, nor the potentials for serious soil, groundwater, and surface water impacts in the event of a release of hazardous materials from a truck travelling along this proposed highway. Perhaps harkening back to the spill of hydrofluoric acid from a tanker in the Berea area which resulted in serious large scale contamination and environmental impacts to the area about the spill and closure of the highway for what I recall was multiple weeks and millions of dollars spent have not been considered. The potentials for environmental damages from the release of a chlorinated solvent, such as TCE, in the karst are immense. Clay liners and other containments have little to no effect in retarding these types of materials from their migration into the sources of many people’s domestic water supplies from wells. In addition, these contaminants are among the most long-lived as source material and breakdown products. Not only would there be immediate environmental consequences for such a spill on a local and regional aquifer scale, but this material would be transported long distances in the karst aquifer system and would also linger deep in the fractured limestones in which the karst is developed. Then there is the chronic contamination which would only be magnified by an increase of traffic through the area. This comes from the tiny amounts of soot, oil, grease, rubber and metals which all of our vehicles leave behind as they drive through an area. Bowling Green has seen the impacts to karst from the effects of these materials being washed off their highways and into Bypass Cave. A masters thesis on this matter is on file at the WKU library if you are interested. These sorts of materials will also be washed off the proposed highway segment into the karst with no treatment possible short of collecting all the dust and run-off rain water and sending it all to a central wastewater treatment plant for proper treatment and disposal… Of course all this ends up as contaminated sediment and water going to Lake Cumberland. This comes from the karst systems providing transport of the waters and contaminants from the highways segment on the karst to the springs which feed many of the area’s rivers and streams – such as the Rockcastle River and Buck Creek. Public meetings by the KTC have already indicated the identification of one unique (not rare, not endangered, but unique to science – rarer than rare) specie during the course of the karst environmental investigation. Potentially there are other rare and endangered species present which would suffer irrepairable damage from short and long term effects from the construction and operation of this proposed project. Both Buck Creek and the Rockcastle river are very important to the sensitive aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems present in the areas under consideration. A HAZMAT spill in the karst would be potentially devastating to the surface streams in the area. These stream and rivers and their surroundings are home to many endangered species. The KTC has failed to justify the sufficiency or effectiveness of their karst investigation past those karst features which are physically identifiable from the surface. Many karst systems have little or no surface expression. The most sensitive technologies such as seismic imaging, microgravitytraverses and grids, or 3-D resistivity traverses and grids have not been used to identify karst which has no surface expression either as a programmatic element of the karst investigation or in any meaningful extent in the proposed highway corridor. In addition, no justification has been made by the KTC or the FHWA as to why these technologies are not being employed to determine whether these hidden features exist. These criticisms were communicated the the KTC during the public comment period following their November 2004 public meeting, with no response from the KTC despite repeated prompting for such during the past 15 months. Their initial response was that they were not required to respond within any certain time frame. They have since failed to even acknowledge repeated attempts at communication. The KTC has contended that no study of completely water filled and inaccessible karst features was necessary – to which I respond how does one know until one performs the investigation. There are wider implications to this highway construction boom in the Somerset Kentucky area. Two additional bypass segments are being planned or built at this writing. Both cross substantial karst, but the Southwestern Bypass crosses karst ranging from highly dissected margin karst to sinkhole plain karst and proposes to connect to the Northern Bypass, which was potentially illegally segmented from the London to Somerset Segment. Both the Northern and Southwestern Bypasses were allowed environmental approval through the application of Environmental Assessments, rather than an Environmental Impact Statement. Poorly publicized and potentially closed door meetings by Federal and State Agencies determined that these two individual segments required the much less stringent Environmental Assessment. But, tellingly, the combined segments of bypass are greater in length than the proposed segment length of the London to Somerset Segment. Additionally, there is substantially more karst present in these two segments than in the whole proposed London to Somerset segment. The Southwestern Bypass EA is terribly deficient with respect to an adequate karst biologic and hydrologic investigation. Once the two segments were proposed to intersect, no additional discussion was carried out to determine whether an EIS was now neccesary for the combined greater segment. An argument has been made that the Southwestern Bypass was in the works long before the Northern Bypass and that they are separate projects with separate pots of money. However, they physically connect and are greater in length as a combined whole than the segment that is having an EIS performed. It begs a few questions which may never be answered given the powerful combination of politics and powerful state agencies already shown to have corruption problems locally and statewide.
Fact: The EA document for the Northern Bypass suggests that it was studied as a stand-alone Somerset Bypass segment, but would be integrated into the proposed London to Somerset I-66 segment if the EIS was approved.
Fact: The Southwestern Bypass Environmental Assessment was quickly and quietly re-written with a new route alternative in order to connect to the proposed Northern Bypass with little opportunity for either public hearings or debates following the announcement of the proposed Northern Bypass.
Fact: The KTC District 8 office “lost” my technical commentary on the deficiencies of the Southwestern Bypass EA which would have to be responded to for purposes of a Finding Of No Significant Impact or Record of Decision regarding the lack of sufficient data regarding the karst in the suddenly revised selected route alternative of the southwestern Bypass.
The District supposedly withdrew and resubmitted their official correspondence transcript to reflect the re-inclusion of the criticism which I sent. They sent me an apology e-mail (how often does this happen?)which I believe i still retain and indicated that since I sent the commentary directly to the KTC Dist 8 project manager and not his administrative liason (Cathi Blair), that the PM forgot to get it into the official transcript. Reading the finding or record of decision later, it was not apparent that the comments ever made it to the appropriate personnel for response. One of them specifically pointed out the lack of karst hydrologic and biologic research proportional to the amount of karst present. Another pointed out that since the project was being funded with federal money, that if water could be proven to flow into Lake Cumberland (a federal flood control impoundment) from the karst, that the water within and the karst itself would possibly be subject to the much more stringent provisions and application of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act, rather than Kentucky’s rather laxly enforced groundwater rules and regulations. This was never addressed such that I could determine. This same criticism was leveled at the Northern Bypass EA and was never addressed…. This criticism has it’s roots in eastern US water law…. I’m not a NEPA attorney, but I think this has sound basis for further questioning. The argument that the two segments connect as a greater whole and that the two EAs were released for public commentary on the same date has spawned little environmental interest from the legal standpoint, yet should be investigated. Prior court cases have determined that highway subdivision and segmentation in order to minimize potential negative environmental impact conclusion outcomes which might cause the project to be cancelled are illegal. However this challenge has not been raised yet. This leads to yet another interesting paradox. A political and non-profit set of foundations have been established to promote the construction and operation of I-66. These groups appear to be well-funded and organized. They compete against a small group of environmental activists and concerned citizens who have little to no funding and often work as individuals in their concerns and objections to the proposed highway projects. Yet one more concern follows this discussion. The current state of the National Environmental Policy Act, its guidelines, rules, regulations and laws makes it so complex that the ordinary un-funded citizen group cannot mount any substantial challenge to conclusions in enormous documents like an EIS or even smaller documents like an EA without expensive legal representation. Yet the governmental agencies charged with performing these studies have the benefit of knowledgeable legal staff who do nothing but work on NEPA and Endangered Species Act issues. They do so with funding from our tax dollars, while those who object to the project do not. These experienced legal staff are often challenged to justify the legality of a certain action or determination. This can take the form of nullification or obfuscation of the objections of the citizens who take the time to make their voice heard through arbitrary determinations as to whether or not the comment was presented in correct form or referenced the appropriate statute, law, or regulation – regardless of substantiative and appropriate content or inquiry. One often sees official response to objections which have environmental basis as “Irrelevant”, because the objection was not state with appropriate reference to chapter and verse of the applicable statutes And then, there is the thorny subject of the mitigation of environmental impact which cannot be denied or written off, or buried in an appendix. An interesting example would be found in the Pikeville EIS. In the document, it was stated that in order to construct the highway along the proposed selected route alternative, that the only stream which contained rare and endangered species and which was unaffected by acid mine drainage or similar degradation was going to be impacted in order to construct the highway. Since this impact was recognized, a solution to deal with and prevent as much as possible this damage (called mitigation) was required. No solution was found to mitigate the damage to the stream at the point of impact or the effects which it would cause to the ecosystem downstream. You would think that this would mean that you have to back up and re-think whether or not the project should continue. You’d be wrong. The way the laws are written, since the impact couldn’t be avoided where it was to take place, and the actions had to take place where they did or they couldn’t accomplish the project, the route was not required to be modified to avoid the impact. Now one would think that if you can avoid the impact and it is significant and impacts rare and endangered species that you might have to say that there was a finding of significant impact and the no-build option would have to be chosen. You’d be wrong again…. Instead, mitigation is being proposed to be performed at a completely different, un-related location, to a stream poisoned by acid mine drainage and devoid of the endangered species which will be negatively impacted by the highway. Something is fundamentally wrong with this sort of solution. Partly this is because often, just like wetlands mitigation, the mitigation strategy fails to accomplish what is required by law and is poorly monitored and enforced. The impact to the endangered species occurs as planned anyway and thus money is spent to no benefit of the environment, but does benefit the companies which provide these sorts of services. Secondly, no amount of mitigation will bring back a species once its gone and if the fix fails and the impact occurs before the fix is proven to solve the problem. The emperor appears to have no clothes, but they are widely praised in the fashion magazines for their tailoring, cut and style. The photos bear this out. The NEPA system operates, but has been mutated through work-arounds, case law and lack of knowledgable representation for those who object to the actions being contemplated. The system is being used by the few to benefit the few and to the detriment of the relatively unspoiled and unique way of life and environmental surroundings of the people of southeastern Kentucky. Saying it benefits the many in any substantial way is inappropriate, and cannot be proven, while there are many cogent arguments to be made to the contrary; citing potentially irrepairable damage to landscape, environment, historic resources and lifestyle. And BTW in passing, I have driven the segment of existing I-66 from Washington DC to Front Royal VA… IMO All it is is a short cut to I-81. I find it ironic that those who first conceived of I-66 in ?Oklahoma or Kansas have abandoned the idea as economically unsound and unworkable, while Rep. Rogers has made it part of his re-election campaign. Sounds like an intelligent design if you ask me.
Life Member, National Speleological Society
Yes roads CAN bring economic development, but the following things need to ALREADY be in place:
Infrastructure including telecommunications, sewers, water, safe secondary roads, better schools, international airport, etc., etc.
From a Clemson University study:
“Unless a community already has some growth underway, it is unlikely that new highways will do much to trigger growth. Improvement in schools, investments in water and sewer upgrades, and attention to
such things as race relations, protection of historic landmarks, and other quality of life factors may pay bigger dividends for such communities than new highways. Only after those things are done and the signs of local job and income growth begin to appear does it make much sense to shift the focus to developmental highways.”
Highway officials & politicians say how every $1 spent on interstates returns $5 in ED but where is the data to back that statement up??? They don’t tell you that!! Its just projections, show us the data. So I-75 came through London, why are there MORE people below the poverty level than before? 20% of our residents are on disability. Where is the willing/educated workforce?
Factories are moving overseas to get cheap labor. There are over 200 industrial parks in KY all with vacancies and all are competing for these jobs. London is lucky to have the bakeries, automotive companies & service industries. Some of these businesses are expanding. But where is the ABC Company that was supposed to occupy the Ind. Park Spec bldg? Where is the Home Depot? There’s speculation that SAMS Club may come. These businesses are here already. I-66 did not attract them. And I-66 will not make their shipping costs go down, so what is the benefit to business? Factories have left Laurel County too, did they leave because there is no I-66?
Its personal to us because we live in DBNF & will make every effort to protect it. We care about the threat of global warming and do not care to make more people sick from increased car exhaust & pollution from runoff. We care about protecting not destroying the environment. We care about the watershed and the caves of Sinking Valley, the Cumberland & the Rockcastle. Maybe we weren’t born here but we live here now. And we’re gonna stay. The DBNF is a NATIONAL TREASURE. Its bigger than the wants of some individuals. And as a person of faith (maybe not yours…) I guess I care about being a steward for the environment more than you do.
So is this I-66 segment gonna be the “TRASH” Highway? Because its going straight to Laurel Ridge Landfill. Is this what we want our town to be known for?? Our great Landfill? Bring your trash to London, trash capitol of KY!
The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. Going from Somerset to London via 80 makes sense to me. I-66 takes people away from London. If I-66 is built, it is most likely that the economic development will shift away from 80 & downtown London to the interstate area.
Will it save me anything if they build I-66? I don’t think my car insurance rates will go down any and I also don’t think it will make driving any safer. Its still gonna cost big bucks to fill our gas tanks! Driver education and vehicle inspections are what is needed if we want safer roads. It also won’t lessen impaired drivers, a threat to us all.
So exactly what are the PROVABLE benefits of I-66? To me there are more benefits to NOT building it than there are TO build it. Some things you can’t put a price tag on, like the environment. Let’s tell our representatives to spend our tax dollars on health care, education and job training for this county’s citizens, not a road which will provide some short term jobs for construction workers and big profits for contractors & land speculators. Looking to make some big $$$ selling your property for I-66? Good luck getting assessed value for your property and can you replace what you already have? Good Luck!
Finally, The Sierra Club has named I-66 in the top ten worst transportation projects in their “Smart Chioces Less Traffic” study. The NRDC and Taxpayers for Common Sense have also submitted reports naming Kentucky’s I-66 in the top 10 worst road building choices. Are these scientists and other experts wrong???
“1. The project is pure pork at a time when we are $9 trillion in debt, and KY-80 can handily handle all the traffic for the next 50 years.
2. Another crossing of the Rockcastle wild and scenic River is indefensible and illegal according to current KY law.
3. Anouncing a preferred route does nothing to assure that karst features will not be spoiled. Archaeological and historical studies need to be done and a practical mitigation plan developed for each karst feature. General assertion that they will avoid, minimize, or mitigate karst issues are not believable.
4. The large number of proposed new interchanges — all without any zoning or environmental control — means more pollution and straight pipes from interchange developments. Are the individuals who have bought up the land and development rights at these proposed intersections on the take?
5. I’m opposed to the whole project and have heard or read nothing yet to tell me they have been listening.”
“There are so many reasons why I-66 should NOT be built, it is hard to decide where to start. Let me just touch upon the major ones here. The environmental impacts of I-66 would make it the most destructive man-made project ever built, slicing and dicing through KY’s vanishing beautiful mountain landscape and what is left of our most pristine areas that are worth preserving. Then there is the money issue…with a projected $9 trillion national debt looming over our nation by the end of the Bush administration, there are no funds available for such a project where the need is highly questionable. Should we just borrow the money for this project from China and Japan like much of the rest of our debt? Kentucky surely cannot afford to build it with state funds. Then we must consider our crumbling infrastructure that has suffered from years of neglect. It would seem to me that the prudent and feasible thing to do would be to fix what we have. Every time I cross a bridge in KY I wonder if it is going to collapse under me. With the structural deficient rating on more than half of our bridges, that is not an unreasonable concern. The current interstate system roadways are in dire need of maintenance.
As that most appropriate Sheryl Crow verse says, “It is not getting what you want, but wanting what you’ve got.”
The same crowd that OKd the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska are the ones that are behind I-66. Based on the estimated traffic volume, there may be more traffic per million dollars on that Alaska bridge than on I-66.
Our Congressman is demonstrating that he can waste money in the same league as our President — I-66 can only divert traffic from KY-80 at 1000 times the cost. It reminds me of the farm that had two windmills. There wasn’t enough wind for two, so they took one down. We don’t have enough traffic on KY 80, so we’d better build a superhighway! There’s already a little-used parkway between Somerset and I-65, so we sure do need another one!
I-66 is an example of fraud, waste, and abuse. The fraud is the claim that the new Interstate is needed for safety and for existing traffic. The waste is more than a billion dollars of our tax money for I-66 by a government that is $9 trillion in debt. The abuse is the insult that people are so stupid as to want a new road when the ones we have are deteriorating.
I-66 is like Iraq — it will employ a lot of people, run us out of money, keep contractors getting rich for years, and inflate the ego of the Congressman who got us into this extravagant mess. It’s a monument to stupidity and profligacy, not a patriotic duty. Most Kentuckians know better.