Last June, the Iowa Transportation Commission returned the long-delayed Highway 100 project to the commission’s five-year construction funding program, setting aside $108.7 million to build the first 3.8-mile section from Edgewood Road NE to Covington Road. Just today, the Sierra Club released its list of best and worst transportation projects in the United States. Here is more from the Sierra Club:
WASHINGTON, DC– The Sierra Club released its list of best and worst transportation projects around the nation in a new report:
Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States. The report identifies specific projects,
either planned or under construction, that it supports or opposes based on cost and whether the investment will contribute or set
back efforts to expand transportation choices and reduce American oil use.
Iowa’s Highway 100 Extension made the list as one of the worst projects.
According to the report, “This outdated project was conceived more than 30 years ago when gasoline cost $1.24 per gallon. It was
first envisioned as part of a bypass around Cedar Rapids. Since then, a town has emerged in the center of the proposed route.
“The proposed Highway 100 extension, a 3.8 mile, $200 million project, would add another 10,000 cars per day to the main street,
Collins Road, causing congestion, air pollution and dangerous conditions for people who want to walk or bike through town.
Moreover, the Highway 100 extension would cut through Rock Island Nature Preserve, one of the most pristine nature preserves in
Rock Island Preserve contains prairie, wetlands and woodlands and is home to rare and endangered turtles and butterflies. The
proposed route through the preserve would fragment and degrade habitat while polluting air and water.”
“It is unconscionable that a highway project would be designed to destroy a nature preserve that is filled with a vast array of plants
and animals in a unique and vanishing sand prairie ecosystem, said Pam Mackey-Taylor, Iowa Chapter Energy chair.
The Iowa Department of Transportation declared the project a priority in June 2012 and will be accepting construction bids in early
2013. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.
“Sierra Club is challenging the Environmental Impact Statement in federal court because it did not examine any alternatives outside
of the preserve,” said Wally Taylor, Iowa Chapter Legal chair.
Each year, America invests more than $200 billion in federal, state, and local tax dollars on transportation infrastructure—bridges
and highways, aviation and waterways, public transit and sidewalks. But too often transportation projects undermine the higher
national goals of reducing oil consumption, increasing safety, improving public health, and saving local, state or federal
Americans are struggling with the health, climate, and economic costs of our oil-centered transportation system. While new
standards that double fuel efficiency of new vehicles to 54.5 mpg by 2025 and cut carbon emissions in half are essential to reducing
our dependence on oil and its many consequences, our transportation investments should provide an opportunity to further reduce
our dependence on oil, reverse climate disruption, and save money. Because transportation infrastructure lasts for decades, the
impacts of transportation investments are felt for many years to come, with huge consequences for America’s ability to move
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