What do you think of spending $10 million of tax dollars a minute? This is the potential cost of the PPE -- $100 million to shorten drive time by ten minutes, but no improvement in traffic congestion or levels of service on our area roads even with three new highways (PPE, Southern Loop and Alcoa Parkway). Readers will be interested in the substance (not just the soundbites in circulation) of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The material below quotes directly from the DEIS (available on line at (link...) and in hard copy at the Blount County Public Library and Chamber of Commerce) and from supporting Technical Memoranda, available upon request from TDOT but not currently on the TDOT webpage.

There is much, much more information in the 370-page DEIS and 900+ pages of supporting material that demonstrates the PPE will not satisfy the purposes and needs in the official description in TDOT materials.

This is no longer a matter of opinion:

TDOT’s own data show the PPE will not improve regional mobility, will not reduce crash incidence, will not address traffic congestion, will not improve levels of service on most of our roads, will likely accelerate residential development that increases costs to the County for providing services like education, will displace families and take active farmland out of production, will substantially increase noise levels in residential neighborhoods, and will threaten our waterways and wildlife habitat.

Three examples, with page references to TDOT’s own materials:

“Little change is predicted in the level of service of existing roadways between the No-Build and Build Alternatives since the traffic volumes do not change substantially for most roadways among the alternatives.” (DEIS, 3-3)
“Overall, this analysis does not demonstrate that any of the Build Alternatives would substantially improve the level of service for the existing highway network.” (DEIS, 3-4)
“Sections of SR 33 and US 411/Sevierville Road would operate at a poor level of service (LOS E or F) regardless of alternative due to existing and projected high traffic volumes on these roadways that exceed the given capacity.” (DEIS, 3-4)

The DEIS shows that only two intersections in the entire study area are improved by Alternative A or C (DEIS 2-10; 3-4; Traffic Operations Report 43) despite such improvement being a major project purpose (DEIS S-2, 1-7).

The DEIS assumes that “when combined with appropriate land use regulations, the recommended transportation improvements need not contribute to urban sprawl.” DEIS 3-17 and 3-18) But the Economic and Fiscal Impacts Analysis acknowledges a different outcome from recent history: “a review of historical building permit trends between 2005 and 2007 suggests that despite the smart growth policies of the County, new residential growth outside municipal boundaries is occurring at a far more rapid pace than within those city limits. . . . on average about 75% of new development over the past three years has occurred in the unincorporated portions of Blount County as compared to Alcoa and Maryville.” (EFIA 18)

The Economic and Fiscal Impacts Analysis addresses the issue of declining revenues: “In both development scenarios, property taxes represent the smallest category of net revenues likely to accrue to the County, with the largest contributor being sales tax revenues from the expenditures of new residents and employees."(3) But sales tax revenues have been unreliable for recurring County expenses, and the commercial development anticipated at the new PPE interchanges has been or will be annexed by the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, meaning those new sales tax revenues will not go to the County, while education costs due to population growth will continue to be borne by the County.

More analysis using TDOT’s own data is now available on CAPPE’s webpage (link...)

The public hearing on the DEIS is Tuesday, July 20, beginning at 5pm at Heritage High School. Come ask why proponents continue to advocate the expenditure of up to $100 million in taxpayer dollars for a project that, even according to TDOT’s own data, doesn’t fulfill the official purpose.

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Excellent! I plan on being

Excellent! I plan on being at the meeting tomorrow.

PPE dog & pony show

Will the Asphalt Crowd be giving away arm-bands and stickers like they did last time there?

viva Evo Morales

I was wondering the same

I was wondering the same thing. Should the CAPPE crowd do something this year?

Cheaper than Armbands

http://gadgetted.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/asphalt_base.jpg

Maybe give away pieces of broken asphalt?

viva Evo Morales

CAPPE had stickers this year

CAPPE had stickers this year and it appears 200 or so people showed up to oppose PPE. It was impressive what a good job everyone did speaking in their 3 minutes. Many good reasons were brought up as to why the PPE should not be built. Report forthcoming at KnoxViews.com.

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