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Virginians For Appropriate Roads
P.O. Box 5272
Roanoke, VA 24012

PRESS RELEASE


"Fix The Roads We Have"

I-73 project called one of the 50 most wasteful in nation

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 26, 1999

Contact: Mark Petersen (540) 362-7141

Roanoke, VA - A coalition of environmental and taxpayer groups has called the Virginia I-73 one of the 50 worst road projects in the nation.

Washington based Taxpayers for Common Sense and Friends of the Earth called the 50 road projects highlighted in this year's Road to Ruin report as "unnecessary or duplicative, environmentally harmful and opposed by concerned local residents."

The groups specifically profiles three Virginia highway projects, including Interstate 73. The 50 projects represent a sharp increase from the 1998 Road to Ruin report, which highlighted 37 projects. The increase can be attributed to two factors: 1) A significant increase in federal funds in TEA-21 that state Departments of Transportation can use for new road projects; 2) Growing citizen awareness and concern about the role new roads play in their communities.

"The Road to Ruin report indicates major changes in our national attitude toward new road construction," said Mark Petersen of Virginians for Appropriate Roads. "Citizens no longer support squandering our national resources and tax dollars for special interest pork-barrel projects. The report echoes arguments made by I-73 opponents. They say it would make more sense to link Martinsville and Roanoke via I-581 with an upgraded U.S. 220. Opponents of the I-73 proposal question the wisdom of routing a "high priority" corridor out of its way into Roanoke. I-73 was originally planned to traverse the existing I-77 corridor. Due to intense special interest lobbying, key politicians convinced Congress to amend the 1995 National Highway Act to allow I-73 to dogleg into Roanoke, almost 30 miles east of its intended alignment.

The recommendations of the Road to Ruin report are:

1) Stop the 50 projects in the report and give more consideration to alternatives.
2) Give local people more control over projects in their communities.
3) Fix existing roads before building new ones.
4) Control pork barrel highway spending in Congress.

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Read the Road to Ruin report by visiting: http://www.taxpayer.net/images/uploads/downloads/Road_to_Ruin_1999.pdf