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For Immediate Release, March 19, 2008

Contact: Randy Serraglio, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 784-1504

State Transportation Board May Decide Fate of I-10 Bypass Proposal Friday

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Arizona State Transportation Board will be presented with the results of a feasibility study on the proposed I-10 bypass project at its regular public meeting in Tucson on Friday, March 21, at 9 a.m. The item is on the agenda for “discussion and possible action.”

“This is the Board’s chance to shut down this wrong-headed proposal that has proven to be so unpopular with the citizens of southern Arizona,” said Randy Serraglio, San Pedro campaign manager at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The proposal to relieve congestion in the Tucson metropolitan area by building a multi-billion-dollar interstate bypass through sensitive areas far from the city has been met with fierce resistance in a series of public meetings over the last year. Each of the proposed routes — through Avra Valley, the San Pedro River valley, and near Aravaipa Creek — has been opposed overwhelmingly by local residents. In Tucson, a public hearing on the matter drew an overflow crowd that was almost unanimous in opposition to the proposal.

Much of the opposition has centered on the illogical cost-benefit calculus of the proposal. Consultants and state officials have admitted that the bypass would divert only about 7 percent of the daily traffic in the Tucson metropolitan I-10 corridor, at a cost of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, remote and ecologically sensitive areas such as the middle and lower San Pedro River valley would be subject to the irreparable damage of construction and the development that would inevitably follow.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups have called for investment in more progressive solutions involving multi-modal infrastructure, rail, and other strategies that would actually help reduce traffic, rather than continuing to plan far-flung highways that will encourage sprawl and more traffic. “The Board and transportation planners should begin thinking in terms of the 21st century, not the 20th,” said Serraglio.

The Transportation Board will hear a presentation on the conclusions of a feasibility study conducted by URS Corp., and the public will be given an opportunity to speak as well.

What: State Transportation Board Meeting, with possible action on I-10 bypass proposal.

When: Friday, March 21, 9 a.m.

Where: Tucson City Council Chambers, 255 W. Alameda, Tucson AZ.

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