SELC Fires Warning Shot Across HOT Lane Bow
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the same folks who sued the NCDOT over the Monroe Bypass, fired off a blistering 21-page memo to the NCDOT today.
The memo takes the NCDOT to task for the improper time horizon of their Environmental Assessment. The assessment’s horizon only goes out to 2017, the same year the HOT lanes are supposed to open. As we mentioned here, assessing the impact of something before it opens is… untrustworthy, to say the least.
The memo goes on to state that, given the HOT lanes are the first in the state, the first P3 project to be operated by a private company, and the first 50 year contract to such private company, the EA should be especially rigorous. (If any of this sounds familiar, it might be because you read that here.) It calls for a greatly expanded scope, including a time horizon out to 2035 and an assessment of the impact to secondary roads.
The memo also says the City of Charlotte urged a longer time horizon and even the Technical Coordinating Committee of MUMPO (yes, MUMPO!) felt the horizon was inadequate.
For the past few weeks now, in an effort to ram this project through, HOT lane advocates have been saying this is a done deal. Re-doing the EA will take months. Failure to do so will most likely result in an injunction. Either way, this is far from over.
Candidates, are you listening?
You can download the memo here: 8-1-13 I-77 Comments to NCDOT.