For the past three years, SELC and partners have been fighting an unnecessary, politically-driven highway project in the Charlotte region that would have polluted the Catawba River basin and increased air pollution in the area.
The state's department of transportation had pushed the $930-million Garden Parkway project despite intensive local opposition but left a trail of misleading and contradictory statements. Claiming the project was necessary to support projected growth in the region, the department also indicated the new highway would cause an increase in traffic. SELC challenged the project's environmental analysis because it failed to disclose impacts to the water and air quality in the region, and it was based on a fundamental error that there would be no future environmental impacts because highways don't induce growth (despite at the same time claiming the project should move ahead to bring growth to the region).
On Friday, a federal court agreed with us and ruled that the state's department of transportation and the Federal Highway Administration violated federal law in their environmental review of the highway. The ruling comes after the NC legislature stripped the project of its earmarked funding following SELC's work to pass a new NC transportation system that awards funding based on need rather than politics.
Without funding and with this latest ruling, construction seems highly unlikely—welcome news to the Gaston County residents that have worked against the project.