Wednesday, March 28, 2007

No CEQA review for highways?

Even when talk of global warming, alternative fuels, and reducing dependence on petroleum is all the rage among the elected set, too often it's still the legislation that facilitates traffic and 
sprawl that moves forward.  

Case in point: This story from the Victorville Daily Press about the plans of the San Bernadino Associated Governments and certain Republican legislators to exempt some road projects from environmental review mandated by CEQA.
Many Victor Valley officials share a frustration with EIRs and have alleged that they hold up road construction when cities have the funding to move them forward.

[Victorville City Councilman Mike] Rothschild is a vocal opponent of the studies on some projects, and initiated the discussion at SANBAG by asking the association to lobby for elimination of EIRs on interchange projects along existing highway corridors.
Thankfully, the Legislature's leadership has turned a cold shoulder in recent years to legislation that would further soften up CEQA.    It's a good bet that this proposal won't get very far either.
Still, it's indicative of the mentality of those policymakers who continue to see road construction as the panacea for traffic-related growing pains in California.  For some, the environmental impacts of road projects are unimportant, or at best incidental.  And the legal  requirement that an agency need to determine the impacts of road projects is a bureaucratic inconvenience that keeps federal funds from raining down on local construction projects.


1 comment:

Rik said...

Victorville is one of the least dense medium-sized cities in CA. I have been trying to get enough data on its public transit system to use it as a comparison for the impacts of sprawl & lack of good transit on older drivers decisions to keep driving when they are losing their driving abilities. -Richard S