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Interstate 35 Expansion, Austin, Texas
Interstate 35 on its route through the heart of Austin is notoriously congested, and its traffic is a constant topic of complaints and news coverage. Commuters are desperate for a fix. But a proposal to add miles of new lanes will likely only exacerbate the problems that led to congestion in the first place.
Interstate 4 “Beyond the Ultimate,” Florida
When Interstate 4 was built through Orlando in the 1960s, few could imagine the city’s future growth. The population of Orange County, where Orlando is located, has more than quadrupled since 1960, while the Orlando area has simultaneously experienced the growth of a tourism economy that draws more than 66 million visitors each year – more than any other U.S. city.
Interstate 405 Improvement, Orange County CA
The Interstate 405 Expansion is a $1.9 billion project that plans to add express toll lanes to 16 miles of “the 405,” one of the most congested highways in the United States. The project is based on estimates of dramatic traffic increases that are both unrealistic, and that far exceed real use trends. Expanding the highway, however, could very well bring many of those who currently avoid the 405 due to congestion back to the highway – generating new traffic that causes congestion to return.
Interstate 66 Expansion “Inside the Beltway,” Virginia
The Washington, D.C., area experiences legendary traffic congestion. For decades, the Capital region has been of two minds about how to address traffic: lay more asphalt or provide alternatives to driving through investments in transit, smart land use, and transportation demand management.
Interstate 73, South Carolina
Interstate 73 is a planned highway originally authorized in 1991, intended to run from Charleston, South Carolina, to Detroit, Michigan. With the exception of 82 miles in North Carolina, grand plans for the highway have so far come to naught. Michigan decided to postpone the road and instead upgrade existing roads. Ohio is addressing individual congestion issues along the corridor rather than making grandiose plans. Although the Virginia Assembly passed its first funding bill for the project, to the tune of $40 million a year in 2017, it remains far from having the approximately $4 billion needed to build its portion of the road.
Interstate 75 North Truck Lanes, Georgia
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is in the early stages of considering a $2 billion plan to build the nation’s first long-haul truck-only lanes along a nearly 40-mile stretch of I-75 from just north of Macon until just south of Atlanta. However, the project would represent a major giveaway to the trucking industry at the expense of Georgia taxpayers, largely duplicates rail-based solutions that are already being implemented in the state, and, along with other highway expansion projects across Georgia, appears to be moving forward in the absence of rigorous analysis to determine whether it is a wise use of funds.
Interstate 75, Michigan
The Detroit area, where population has shrunk over the past 20 years, suffers from costly sprawl, roads and bridges that are in poor condition, and a woefully inadequate transit system. Such a situation seems to call for reinvestment in the current system, not road expansion. Nevertheless, Michigan is currently undertaking project to expand the capacity of Interstate 75 through suburban Oakland County, north of Detroit – a project that is both unnecessary and will exacerbate the region’s problems. Although some sections of the project have already begun, as of April 2019, the $1.4 billion last segment of the project, which stretches from M-102 to north of 13 Mile Road, was not slated to begin construction until the fall of 2019.
Interstate 81, Virginia
Virginia’s I-81 corridor runs through the Shenandoah Valley and primarily rural areas in the western part of the state. Aiming to increase freight capacity and improve safety, Virginia is moving forward with a plan to widen and rebuild sections of the highway. A recently adopted, $2.2 billion “I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan” consists of 63 individual projects including lane additions, shoulder widenings, and curve improvements, along with operational improvements and some funding set aside for rail and transit enhancements.
Interstate 84 Expansion, Connecticut
In December 2016, the state of Connecticut took the first steps toward widening I-84 in Danbury, hiring consultants to begin planning for a project that is estimated to cost more than $700 million, a cost that does not include the potentially substantial costs of acquiring additional right-of-way for the road. Although congestion on I-84 is a problem, Connecticut has more pressing transportation priorities. The State Transportation Fund has fallen to such low levels that local transit agencies have started to plan for painful service reductions. State commuter rail needs investment. Connecticut also badly needs to invest in road repairs: 73 percent of its roads are in poor or mediocre condition, worst in the nation. Connecticut also has limited transportation resources, with lawmakers struggling to keep the state’s special transportation fund from falling into a deficit in the fiscal year starting July 2018.
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