Skip to main content

Rep. Sue Myrick's letter to Gov. Easley and Sect. Tippett published in Charlotte Observer

US. Representative Sue Myrick's (R-Charlotte) letter to North Carolina's Governor Mike Easley and NC Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett was published in the Friday, November 30th edition of the Charlotte Observer.

Why are we delaying the completion of 1-485 in Charlotte again?

I read in The Charlotte Observer how rising prices of materials are leading to the delay. Why didn't these same rising costs delay the loops in Fayetteville and Wilmington?

Why are we building loops in Fayetteville and Wilmington before we complete the one in Charlotte?

We were working on the one in Charlotte back when I was mayor. That was 20 years ago!

... Last I looked Charlotte was the largest city in the state. There seems to be no recognition of that fact in Raleigh. No recognition that we are at a standstill with traffic. No recognition that we have a traffic problem.

Nor is there any recognition of the fact that the state DOT utterly botched up the southern leg of our yet to be completed loop by only putting in two lanes where there should have been four. So not only is the loop not complete, what is complete is already backlogged. When we called on you to fix that, you delayed that, too. It's still not fixed!

I fear that the N.C. Department of Transportation and the General Assembly do not fully realize the repercussions of these continual delays and how crucial this project is to the wellbeing of our residents. Aside from the fact that commuters are already forced to crawl in rush hour traffic, I must also point out that this delay has security implications.

If for no other reason, please reconsider our loop so that Charlotte is prepared to deal with any mass evacuation that, Lord willing, will never be required, but for which we should prepare.

Charlotte is home to two of the largest banks in the world, hosted the first and only trial of Hezbollah in the United States and is surrounded by two nuclear power plants. These facts make Charlotte increasingly susceptible to a man-made or terrorist activity requiring a mass evacuation.

In the event of such an emergency, the completion of this portion of highway is crucial to making sure Charlotte residents are able to be evacuated in a safe and timely manner. Pushing back this project continues to put citizens' safety at risk. That is unacceptable.

The other issue here is fairness. The outerbelt delay is merely symbolic of a number of road projects left to wither on the vine of DOT projects while less deserving ones down East get the money. Garden parkway, Monroe bypass, Charlotte outerbelt, etc. Raleigh couldn't care less.

We need relief from the state NOW. It must be nice for areas around the state capital and toward the coast to keep having their projects fully supported, and we all know why that is. But allocating money through political clout and the good ole boy network is no way to run a state.

We pay our fair share of taxes on this side of the state. When are we going to get our fair share of the services for which we paid? Why do only a handful of people in Raleigh get to decide who drives on four-lane roads and who sits in traffic?

People call us the Great State of Mecklenburg, implying that somehow wanting to get fair representation and fair allocation out of Raleigh amounts to arrogance on our part.

Wrong.

True arrogance is allowing the state to be split into East vs. West, and the east getting all the spoils because the General Assembly, as a whole, does not have the backbone to stand up to a few of its leaders and tell them to cut it out.

Story Link: http://www.charlotte.com/409/story/384616.html

Commentary:

There are a few things that should be pointed out in Rep. Myrick's letter. First, the DOT did not botch the southern portion of I-485. When it was planned and built, the idea of the amount of growth in places like Pineville, Ballantyne, and parts of Union County (Waxhaw) was not expected. Remember, that the first parts of I-485 were built in the late 80s, and the area exploded in growth in the 1990s. So did the DOT botch the Southern Part of I-485? No.

Myrick also brings up the classic Charlotte vs. Raleigh and Western NC vs. Eastern NC rivalry. And it does exist, after living in both Charlotte and Raleigh, I can attest to that. But she doesn't talk about the rivalry within Mecklenburg County. In 2005, when the widening of I-485 in Ballantyne was pushed forward in the schedule - thus delaying the completion of the loop from I-77 near Huntersville to I-485 near Concord and University - there was a lot of bickering between political leaders in the towns of Northern Mecklenburg County vs. the City of Charlotte.

And she isn't alone about bickering about the Eastern North Carolina projects moving forwards. The larger cities including Greensboro and Raleigh over the past two to three years have voiced their displeasure over freeways being built in rural areas of Eastern NC. The core of that issue is the balance funding rule within DOT between the various DOT districts. Early this decade and in the late 90s, a lot of the projects in Charlotte and the large cities benefited from funding that was for projects (not ready to move forward) in the Eastern part of the state. Well now those projects are ready and the balance has shifted.

I am surprised that Myrick didn't mention in her letter that Tippett is from Fayetteville. As of now, there have been no public allegations that Tippett was instrumental in keeping the Fayetteville Loop (I-295) funding moving forward.

Myrick, who was mayor of Charlotte from 1987-1991, has been very outspoken on the construction/funding delays with I-485. We'll continue to hear from her while the Draft STIP is being finalized.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Caliente-Bodfish Road

Caliente-Bodish Road is one of the finest driving roads in the southern Sierra Nevada range and has rich history. The approximately thirty-two-mile-long highway connects from Kern River Road in Bodfish south to Bena Road (former US Route 466) via Caliente siding. Caliente-Bodfish Road is a segment of Thomas Baker's stage road which facilitated overland travel to the claims of the Kern River Gold Rush. The Baker Stage Road was constructed during the 1860s-1870s and spanned from the outskirts of Caliente north to the Stockton-Los Angeles Road near Tailholt in Tulare County. The blog cover photo is from the nine-mile segment north of Caliente Creek Road which is known as the "Lion's Trail." Caliente-Bodish Road carries the internal designation of Kern County Road 483. Part 1; the history of Caliente-Bodfish Road Caliente-Bodish Road is a segment of what was Thomas Baker's stage road to Kern River Valley.  The Kern River Gold Rush began in 1853 and spurred devel

The Dummy Lights of New York

  A relic of the early days of motoring, dummy lights were traffic lights  that  were  placed  in the middle of a street intersection. In those early days, traffic shuffled through busy intersections with the help of a police officer who stood on top of a pedestal. As technology improved and electric traffic signals became commonplace, they were also  originally  positioned on a platform at the center of the intersection. Those traffic signals became known as  " dummy lights "  and were common until  traffic lights were moved  onto wires and poles that crossed above the intersection.  In New York State, only a handful of these dummy lights exist. The dummy lights  are found  in the Hudson Valley towns of Beacon and Croton-on-Hudson, plus there is an ongoing tug of war in Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, where their dummy light has been knocked down and replaced a few times. The dummy light in Canajoharie is currently out of commission, but popular demand has caused the dummy

Madera County Road 400 and the 1882-1886 Yosemite Stage Road

Madera County Road 400 is an approximately twenty-four-mile roadway following the course of the Fresno River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Road 400 begins at California State Route 145 near Madera and terminates to the north at Road 415 near Coarsegold.  Traditionally Road 400 was known as "River Road" prior to Madera County dropping naming conventions on county highways.  Road 400 was part of the original Yosemite Stage Route by the Washburn Brothers which began in 1882.  The Yosemite Stage Route would be realigned to the west in 1886 along what is now Road 600 to a rail terminus in Raymond.  Parts of Road 400 were realigned in 1974 to make way for the Hensley Lake Reservoir.  Part 1; the history of Madera County Road 400 Road 400 is historically tied to the Wawona Road and Hotel.  The Wawona Hotel is located near the Mariposa Grove in the modern southern extent of Yosemite National Park.   The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel but it does predate th