Action Alert: Submit Northern Beltline Comments

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Action Alert: Submit Comments on the Regional Transportation Plan

Your Comments Due 12/9 at 5pm on regional issues, including the Northern Beltline

Members of the public may comment on the greater Birmingham Regional Transportation Plan, which prioritizes projects such as bridges, new and improved roads, and safety enhancements. Please submit comments to the Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization with suggestions on how available funding could be more wisely spent rather than wasting such a large percentage (as proposed) on one unnecessary and destructive project, the Northern Beltline.

Click here to submit comments on the Regional Transportation Plan.

Here are some talking points we suggest:

If completed, the Northern Beltline would only relieve 1-3% of traffic on I-20/59 through downtown Birmingham, and it will not reroute significant truck traffic. In fact, traffic will increase on the already heavily-congested section of I-59 through Trussville and Argo.

Construction of the Northern Beltline has been ranked 36th in priority by the Regional Planning Commission, yet it is being prioritized by ALDOT and the Birmingham Business Alliance over much-needed fixes for current traffic, safety, and maintenance problems.

As a result of the 2012 federal transportation bill known as MAP-21, potential future funding considered for the Northern Beltline can now be spent on other road and bridge projects around Birmingham, and throughout the state, that are critically needed.

Even without pursuing the $5.445 billion Northern Beltline, ALDOT already currently has a backlog of traffic, safety, and maintenance projects. The Northern Beltline will make it harder to meet these needs.

To see additional facts about the Northern Beltline’s impacts, as well as maps, click here.

The Issue: The Birmingham Metropolitan Planning Organization has released a draft of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan that outlines transportation priorities throughout the greater Birmingham area for the next 25 years.

The long range plan estimates only 19 miles (36%) of the 52-mile, $5.4 billion Northern Beltline are projected to be complete by 2040, and that the Alabama Department of Transportation plans to sink 55% of the available capacity money for building or widening roads in Jefferson, Shelby, Chilton, St. Clair, Blount and Walker counties on this one questionable project.

Numerous needed improvements to Birmingham’s transportation system, including critical maintenance for area bridges and highways, will continue to be delayed or shelved indefinitely as a result. The Northern Beltline’s prolonged construction timeline and continued drain on the majority of available capacity money will also now have major ramifications for any new transportation projects across Alabama.

If finished, the Northern Beltline would cross and permanently alter Black Warrior and Cahaba river tributary streams in 90 places, including impacts to two major regional sources of drinking water. It would also impact 35 wetlands and 3,078 football fields’ worth of forest. This project will come at a high cost to our vital water resources while providing little traffic relief.

For the Regional Planning Commission’s draft Regional Transportation Plan, click here.

For the Regional Planning Commission’s draft plan map, click here.


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