Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Parkway Dead in Water -- Environmental Document Rescinded




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2019  
Contacts:
Pine Street Coalition Tony Redington 343-6616
Post Office Box 8726 Steve Goodkind 316-6045
Burlington, VT 05402 Charles Simpson 865-5110


BURLINGTON—The Pine Street Coalition wins a round against the Champlain 
Parkway as federal officials rescind the environmental document stopping all
further expenditures and significantly delaying construction. 


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on October 11 in the Federal Register 
cancels the 2009 Parkway environmental document in part to allow 
“environmental justice” examination under new regulations, agreeing with the grass
roots Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) that regulations adopted since 2009 must now
focus on the low income/minority King Maple neighborhood Parkway impacts.  


“No  funds can be spent on the Parkway without an environmental document is in
place,” said Tony Redington, a Coalition leader.   He said in a FHWA November 8
filing with U.S. District Court (Court) in Burlington delays any further actions at Cour until early January and FHWA promises a decision at that time of a further delay of 
up to three months.


“Environmental justice” rules say a finding of a disproportionate impact of a federal
highway project on a low income/minority neighborhood requires minimizing 
those impacts.  The Coalition charges last year and in its June Court filing
detailed disproportionate impacts of the Parkway on the King Maple neighborhood.
Because no environmental justice case in a small state like Vermont has occurred,
the Parkway review is being done by a panel in the U.S. Department of
Transportation.  Former City Engineer and Department of Public Works Director
Steve Goodkind, a Coalition leader, said the City strongly objected to the Pine
Street route though the King Maple neighborhood throughout.  “We fought long and
 hard on the Parkway alternatives and on our concerns of harm to the King Maple
 neighborhood from the current choice—the City advocated for the Battery Street
connection bypassing the neighborhood but FHWA would not listen,” Goodkind said.


The Coalition filed its Court case against the current Parkway in June and seeks a full
redesign of the roadway.  The grassroots group of over 150 seeks a new design 
process based on the claim the 2009 environmental document is stale, obsolete and
invalid. 

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