The Arkansas Department of Transportation is going hell-for-leather to get the Interstate 30 ditch widening project so far advanced that pending legal challenges will be moot should courts finally recognize the insufficient environmental assessment of the damage this billion-dollar boondoggle will cost.
Might there be some hope at the federal level, which has backed the project today and which is providing a significant amount of the money?
The hope would be Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. As Slate reports: Buttigieg has called for a pause in an interstate widening project in Houston, because of its detrimental neighborhood impact. Downtown neighborhoods oppose the I-30 (and I-630) widening projects.
This isn’t a singular thing either.
It focuses on the Biden administration’s targeting of removal of a nieghborhood-blighting New Orleans expressway as part of its infrastructure plans.
Biden’s plan calls for a $20 billion fund to “reconnect” neighborhoods cut off by old transportation projects. Documents released Wednesday by the White House provided little detail about how the money could be used, but the projected cost of taking down highways varies from a few hundred million dollars to billions.
…Ben Crowther, who runs a program called Highways to Boulevards at the Congress for the New Urbanism, an organization that advocates for walkable cities, said the funds proposed by the president would represent a down payment on a national highway removal program.
It may be too late for I-30. But more destruction on I-630, when the lingering ill effects of that project are evident in a deeply divided city and perhaps leave some means for correction? Let’s talk, Mayor Pete.
Maybe Sen. Clarke Tucker, whose wedding Buttigieg attended, has a contact number.