Southern Environmental Law Center to sue over Garden Parkway development

August 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

In the ongoing battle of the state’s most controversial highway proposals, the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill is getting ready to sue the state to stop the construction of the Garden Parkway, an almost 22-mile toll road that is slated for Gaston County. Our previous blog posts have discussed the controversy surrounding this project, from the disputed job creation estimates to the potential threat of litigation over the environmental impacts.

Now that the Southern Environmental Law Center has won a case over another project, the Monroe Connector/Bypass in Union County, it is gearing up for a lawsuit against the state’s Turnpike Authority over what they see as a defective environmental assessment. For these projects, the federal government requires “build vs no build” studies, which examine the impacts if the proposed project is built and if it is not built. In the case of the Monroe Connector/Bypass, it was ruled that the build vs no build study was done incorrectly, thus delaying the project indefinitely. The Law Center says that the study done for the Garden Parkway was even worse.

Supporters say that this will help jump-start the local economy by providing a connector over the Catawba River. But opponents say that the $1 billion Parkway will only cause sprawl, environmental degradation, and a loss of jobs due to companies moving to South Carolina. In light of all this controversy, delaying the project would not be a bad thing. As we’ve said before, at a time when state and federal resources are limited, economic development projects need to have clear benefits to justify the cost.

Entry filed under: Economic Development. Tags: .

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