The Northern Beltline: Still Not a Done Deal or a Good Idea
October 4, 2013
Eva Dillard, Black Warrior Riverkeeper: email@example.com 205-458-0095
Sarah Stokes, Southern Environmental Law Center: firstname.lastname@example.org 205-745-3060
Although supporters of the controversial $5.4 billion Northern Beltline held a press conference this week to announce upcoming construction, the reality is the status of the project remains uncertain due to significant concerns about its environmental impacts and costs to taxpayers.
The permit issued this week only applies to a tiny portion of the project –less than two miles of the 52-mile highway. The state currently has about $160 million in funds, which may not be enough to even cover this section, that can instead go towards further work on Corridor X or Corridor V. Beyond the $160 million, there is no longer a dedicated funding source for the Beltline. The project will directly compete with immediate transportation priorities around the state.
While an uphill funding battle for the road remains, just as important is the fact that there is an ongoing lawsuit against the Northern Beltline. That federal lawsuit alleges that the project and an analysis of more effective alternatives have not been properly studied, as required by law.
As serious hurdles remain for the Northern Beltline, questions and concerns throughout the state continue to grow about moving forward with the project. Before taxpayers subsidize wealthy corporate landowners and a handful of others who stand to benefit from the project, and before valuable wetlands and headwater streams are damaged, now is a critical time to determine whether this is really the best choice for our transportation system, our environment, and our shrinking taxpayer coffers.
For more information about the Northern Beltline, visit: