Interstate 3 is a horrible conception and unless the public steps up to the plate and contacts their representatives billions of dollars will be wasted and the ecology of the Southeast forever changed! I was composing a lengthy opposition to I-3 when Blogger deleted my account so my research was lost. Fortunately, the Stop I-3 Coalition has stepped up to the plate to bring public awareness to this disaster that has been forming since 2004. Contacting your representative is EASY! Explaining to your grandchildren why the Great Smoky Mountain National Park died and why the Southeast no longer has a wilderness is HARD.
Billions of dollars are being allocated to build a road that reduces current routes by only 15 miles. This money should be spent to build electric rails along existing interstate corridors instead of irrevocability changing the landscape and environment of the Southeast. Modern trains can be equiped to transport cars like ferries so arguments that a rail system would be useless are invalid.
It is my personal believe that this is a military inspired route to expedite transportation of weapons from Oak Ridge to the coast (an unfounded and unproveable statement — but it is a straight line!).
Please click MORE to read the full email from Stop I-3. Please, if you contact your representative about nothing else, just contact them about this. Put a stop to Interstate 3!
From: Elizabeth Wells, Chairperson, Stop I-3 Coalition
Re: Urgent and Critical Need of Action
First an update of I-3 activity:
The I-3 study, commissioned in the Congressional Transportation Bill last August, is about to get underway. It is now not being called a feasibility study, but a study and report. It is not being conducted by GA DOT as designated, but by the Washington DC FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). History and details can be studied on the FHWA comprehensive I-3 website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/sec1927corridors.htm
Now that GA DOT has agreed to pay the “local share” (20% of $1.32 million), FHWA can proceed with its SOW (Statement of Work) which precedes the RFP’s (Request for Proposals) which will be sent to FHWA consultants, one of whom will be selected to conduct the study. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO IS INFLUENCE THE STATEMENT OF WORK TO BE SURE THERE IS AMPLE OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. More about this after the update.
What we do know is that the study will include a SDB (Spatial Data Base) which is essentially the same thing as a GIS (Geographical Information System). It will contain a number of possible routes and designate if each will be a freeway or non-freeway. It will also identify sites listed on the National Register of Historical Places, wetlands, riverbeds, cut and fill (mountains, that is), etc. Even though one single route will not be a study product, alternate routes will be addressed.
The date which the Secretary of Transportation must submit this report to Congress is Sept. 30, 2009. FHWA would like to have the study done 1-2 years ahead of that date as it takes 8-9 months to get through the procedures to Congress.
Now to what we can do:
PROBABLY THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS IS ACT NOW TO CONTACT EVERY SINGLE LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIAL WE KNOW TO GET THEM TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE STATE DOT’S AND THE STATE AND FEDERAL FHWA’S TO OPEN THIS STUDY PROCESS TO THE PUBLIC FOR INFORMATION, SCRUTINY AND PARTICIPATION. Without this, we will not only not know what is going on, but we will have no say about what we want or know. So look below to identify the folks you have put in office to represent you, pick up the telephone, your pen or email and contact as many as you can. Start with your own County Commissioners, then your State Representatives, then US Representatives and Senators. Ask each of them to write a letter to your state DOT and FHWA and send you a copy. It would be a good thing if you also write to your state DOT’s and FHWA’s. And while we are at it, let’s include our governors too.
IF WE DO NOT DO THIS IMMEDIATELY, THE STATEMENT OF WORK WILL BE SET IN STONE. IF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE SOW BEFORE THE RFP’S ARE DISTRIBUTED, IT IS TOO LATE. THIS IS OUR BIG CHANCE TO HAVE A CHANCE TO INFLUENCE THIS PROCESS. PLEASE ACT WITHIN THIS NEXT WEEK.
Suggestions of “talking points” for your communications: PLEASE STAY ON PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ONLY FOR THIS PARTICULAR CONTACT! This is a real opportunity to bring everyone, pro or con, together on this point. We all have a right to be heard!
1. We want the State DOT’s to participate in the study process; they know a lot about road construction and we know they all have a substantial investment in the outcome of this study.
2. We want citizen representation from each state on the study’s Advisory or Steering Committee.
3. We want transparency in the entire study process. The consultant must provide early disclosure of the process and methods of study including announcements of study routes.
4. We want public participation at every phase of the study. At minimum is written comment. We see full public participation as an opportunity for FHWA and the consultant to show good will to all those possibly impacted by this effort.
5. We want full and realistic consideration of study costs, as required by Congress. All costs must be addressed such as: environmental laws for wetlands, publicly-owned lands, rare species & habitats, significant historical, archeological and recreational resources and high quality water sheds and drinking water. Additional costs associated with overcoming technical challenges including unstable geology, rugged mountain terrain & acid drainage from acid-producing rock formation must also be included.
WHOM TO WRITE The Federal Highway Administration is where the current decisions are being made so be sure to start with Mr.. Capka. All of the other officials listed below can add pressure and represent our wishes as constituents. Depending on where you live, please identify below those legislators who have the responsibility to represent your views. If you do not live in GA, NC, SC or TN, in order to identify your U.S. Senators, go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm If you do not know your U.S. Representative you may go to http://www.house.gov/writerep and enter your zip code for the name and address of your Representative. FOR YOUR STATE AND LOCAL LEGISLATORS, go to http://www.congress.org and enter your zip code.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION :J. Richard Capka, Acting Federal Highway Administration Director, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20590
US Senator Saxby Chambliss, 416 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
US Senator Johnny Isakson, 120 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Governor Sonny Perdue, 203 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, tel. 404-656-1776
US Representative Charles Norwood, 2452 Rabun Building, Washington, DC 20515
US Representative John Barrow, 226 Cannon Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
GA DOT Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl, No.2 Capitol Square SW, Atlanta, GA 30334, tel.404-656-5206
US Senator Elizabeth Dole, 555 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
US Senator Richard Burr, 217 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Governor Mike Easley, 20301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699 tel: 1/800-662-7952
US Representative Charles Taylor, 339 Cannon Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
NC Senator John Snow, 105 Van Horn St, Murphy, NC 28906
NC Representative Roger West, PO Box 160, Marble, NC 28905
NC DOT Secretary of Transportation Lyndo Tippett, 1501 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27601, tel.919-733-2520
US Senator Jim DeMint, 340 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
US Senator Lindsey Graham, 290 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Governor Mark Sanford, State House, PO #11369, Columbia, SC 29211
SC DOT Executive Director Elizabeth S. Mabry, SC Dept of Transportation, 955 Park St. Columbia, SC 20202, tel.803-737-1302
US Senator Lamar Alexander, 302 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
US Senator Bill Frist, 501 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Governor Phil Bredesen, State Capitol, Nashville, TN 37243
TN DOT Commissioner Gerald F. Nicely, James K. Polk Bldg. Suite 700, Nashville TN 37243
Our Stop I-3 Coalition is now over 1,500,000 strong. There is definitely strength in numbers and we need to keep up the good work and pressure! Thanks in advance for doing your part.
Elizabeth Wells, Chairperson
Stop I-3 Coalition
P.O. Box 9
Sautee-Nacoochee, GA 30571