Environmentalists list wasteful projects

News ARTBA June 07, 2004
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Two national groups--Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers of Common Sense--have released a report, titled "Road to Ruin: the 27 M

Two national groups--Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers of Common Sense--have released a report, titled "Road to Ruin: the 27 Most Wasteful Road Projects in America," that criticizes the federal surface transportation reauthorization bill pending in Congress. According to Road to Ruin, eliminating the 27 projects would save federal taxpayers $24 billion.


The report highlights projects in 21 states: Alaska, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. According to Road to Ruin, the top 10 wasteful projects are: Inter County Connector (Md.), I-81 (Va.), Legacy Highway (Utah), I-405 (Wash.), I-66 (Ky.), State Route 710 (Calif.), State Highway 99 (Texas), I-69 (Ind.), Corridor H (W. Va.) and Western Transportation Corridor (Va.).


According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, only 16 of the 27 projects cited in the report would receive federal funding under the House-passed highway bill. A press release describing the report acknowledges the House bill would provide $185 million for the 27 identified projects--as opposed to the $24 billion in federal taxpayer savings the report claims would occur if the projects were eliminated. The Senate measure does not provide funding for individual highway projects.


The groups released a comparable report in 1999 citing $17 billion in wasteful highway projects. It is interesting to note that six of the top 10 most egregious projects identified in the 2004 report also were top 10 wasteful projects in the 1999 report.


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