It's our favorite subject at the blog (ok so it's mine - Bob takes care of the I-73 debacle in Greensboro) - but it's another round of the Interstate 485 hot potato game!
This time folks at the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) have basically told Governor Bev Perdue that they don't care about her campaign promise to complete the Interstate 485 loop, the plan to widen and upgrade Independence Blvd. will move forward.
This happened when again the NCDOT said that if the Independence project goes first, I-485 will be delayed.
MUMPO members would have none of that.
"I don't know why we should bite on this false choice,” said Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess. “We need to finish Independence as we've been planning for 30 years."
Burgess compared the pressure from Raleigh is similar to "...asking a parent to choose their favorite child."
Weddington Mayor Nancy Anderson would have none of it either, "This is not an option really, just kind of a way to confuse the issue and cover up for the governor's promises that are being broken.”
With what appears to be deaf ears in Raleigh from the governor on the issue, and with no response from Raleigh from the governor's office from letters that MUMPO chairman Lee Myers on offering suggestions to build both I-485 and widen Independence by 2013, MUMPO appears to be standing firm on their priorities list. The list has the widening of Independence Blvd. as their top transportation priority in the region.
MUMPO will formally announce their decision in October.
Mayor: Governor should apologize for broken promises ---WCNC-TV w/video
I-485 completion would put Independence project on hold ---News 14 Carolina w/video
There really isn't much more to say, but the silence from Governor Perdue's office is deafening. All we are hearing from the NCDOT is the same story. If you decide to improve Independence, 485 will have to wait until at least 2015.
Is it me or is the NCDOT doing the dirty work for Aunt Bev?
Perdue, who made the promise during her successful 2008 run for Governor, has been silent throughout this issue the past few months. She made the promise in Charlotte while running against Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. And surprisingly - to some but not myself - it certainly appears that either folks in Raleigh are ignorant to the issue, aren't willing to work through a solution to get both projects completed, or just really don't care.
Considering the Tar Heel state's history of West vs. East in politics - and the ongoing Charlotte vs. Raleigh squabbles, I have a feeling that the latter of the three is the most accurate.