For Immediate Release: September 24, 2012
Groups say draft report does not adequately inform the public about the costs of the bypass or compare it to better solutions
Jeff Werner, Piedmont Environmental Council, 434-977-2033, ext.29
Morgan Butler, Southern Environmental Law Center, 434-977-4090
Charlottesville, VA – On Thursday, September 27th, VDOT will hold a Citizen Information Meeting to allow area residents to comment on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Route 29 Western Bypass. Because the bypass proposal was inactive for so long, VDOT is required to provide the public with updated information about the proposal and factor in public input before a final decision to build it can be made. VDOT has now put forward a draft report, and Thursday’s meeting will allow the community to weigh in.
“Unfortunately, VDOT’s assessment hides the ball,” says Senior Attorney Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “It doesn’t compare the bypass to the more effective transportation solutions the community has developed for Route 29. And the bypass design it evaluates is an outdated design from a decade ago. Without evaluating the current project, VDOT’s report paints an inaccurate picture of what all the impacts would be. These and other flaws with the document make it impossible for the community to judge whether the bypass is worth all the damage it would cause.”
Jeff Werner, Charlottesville-Albemarle Land Use Field Officer of the Piedmont Environmental Council continued: “The Board of Supervisors revived the Western Bypass in an unannounced midnight vote in June 2011. Since then, the project has been rushed forward based on stale information leaving many unanswered questions. The environmental assessment was VDOT’s chance to finally answer those questions, but it fails to do that. Even UVA is now raising questions and advocating changes that will likely affect the costs and effectiveness of the overall project. The public deserves a clear understanding of what this $244 million project would do and how it compares to alternatives before final decisions can be made. VDOT’s report does not provide that.”
WHO: Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
WHAT: Citizen Information Meeting on the Proposed Route 29 Western Bypass
WHEN: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 6 – 9 pm
WHERE: Jack Jouett Middle School, 210 Lambs Lane, Charlottesville, VA 22901
About the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC): The Piedmont Environmental Council was founded in 1972 to promote and protect the Virginia Piedmont's rural economy, natural resources, history and beauty. Headquartered in Warrenton, VA, PEC has offices throughout a nine county Piedmont region that includes Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.
About Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC): The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of 50 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.