Birmingham City Council to Host Debate on Controversial Northern Beltline Project

MEDIA ADVISORY

What: Birmingham City Council informational forum on the proposed Northern Beltline highway

When: 2:00 pm CDT, March 13, 2013

Where: Council Chambers, City Hall, Birmingham, AL

The Birmingham City Council will host a debate, open to media and the public, to hear from opponents and proponents of the proposed Northern Beltline, a 52-mile bypass north of Birmingham.

Opponents scheduled to present include the Southern Environmental Law Center, which has raised concerns about the impact the project would have on Birmingham’s air and water quality, particularly the headwaters of the Black Warrior and Cahaba rivers. SELC has challenged the environmental impact study for the Beltline as outdated and inadequate to determine the road’s real impact.   

In addition to environmental concerns, the project is under scrutiny for its $4.7-billion price tag, which would make it the most expensive road project in Alabama’s history. Despite this significant cost, the project is projected to provide only 1-3% traffic relief and any jobs associated with its construction would cost taxpayers $450,000 per job.

As the long-term viability of the Beltline becomes more uncertain given the political climate in Washington and the other transportation needs in Birmingham that will go unmet if the Beltline is pursued, the Birmingham City Council scheduled the forum to hear more about the project’s possible impacts.

For more information on the project, please visit: www.southernenvironment.org/cases/northern_beltline/

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