Stopping destructive highways

The damage done 

Controversial highway projects are some of the largest contributors to land loss, dangerous emissions, and environmental injustice throughout our region. Yet, there continues to be a push for highway expansions and building large, destructive new highways as the region remains bound to passenger vehicles producing climate changing emissions and air pollution, cutting through communities, and destroying wetlands and natural resources.

A history of injustice

There is a long history of the Federal government, and state and local governments, intentionally placing highways through communities of color and low-wealth communities, destroying neighborhoods and businesses and isolating people from necessary services and job opportunities. The communities these highways cut through and isolate, are historically most often majority Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, or individuals and families with lower wealth. Vehicle pollution harms the health of these residents—contributing to asthma, respiratory illness, cancer, and even premature death.

Here’s what we can do

The South is growing, and people and goods must be transported place to place. However, the region’s reliance on cars and highways is not sustainable as more people continue to need to access jobs and services throughout the region. SELC advocates for forward-thinking policies that will foster healthy, vibrant communities while reducing climate-changing emissions and protecting carbon sinks and natural areas. We work to convince state, regional, and local officials throughout the region to focus on maintaining and improving existing roadways, enhancing alternatives to driving that can reduce pollution and increase people’s choices (such as rail, transit, bicycling and walking), and promoting smarter growth while protecting natural resources. 

We should be investing in transportation projects that reduce congestion while promoting healthy, equitable and resilient communities.  That means abandoning the old highway-centric mindset and pursuing more innovative solutions.

Kym Meyer, SELC Litigation Director