Our comparison of costs vs benefits will undoubtedly look different than what ADOT and MAG are trying to sell to the public. We believe we have justified our conclusions with sound arguments. You be the judge.
BENEFITS of the South Mountain Freeway
- Traffic will flow better during rush hour – by at most a very small percentage.
- Residents of the West Valley will be able to travel to work in the East Valley and vice versa. Do we really want to encourage a freeway for this? Hasn’t light rail been proven to be effective for regional transportation and without the pollution of a freeway?
- Residents in the East Valley and in areas around Maricopa will be able to travel to and from the I-10 West more easily. This can also be accomplished by a different placement of the Loop 202, either along Baseline Road or along the South end of the Gila River Indian Community.
- Residents of the West Valley will be able to travel to Casa Grande and Tucson without going through downtown Phoenix. This can also be accomplished by a different placement of the Loop 202, either along Baseline Road or along the South end of the Gila River Indian Community.
COSTS of the South Mountain Freeway
- At least $2-$4 Billion of initial taxpayer money. This is a hugely disproportionate amount of highway dollars.
- A portion of South Mountain will be destroyed, inflicting a permanent scar on the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, South Mountain Park (the world’s largest city park), and lands that are sacred to the Gila River Indian Community.
- Truck traffic will increase through the Valley of the Sun with trucks using this new bypass.
- Air pollution will increase through the Valley of the Sun because of the trucks using this new bypass. This will be especially bad going past Ahwatukee where 6 schools with over 7000 students within a few blocks of the freeway will be affected. Health officials are just beginning to get a more complete picture of the health ramifications for children receiving this level of exposure to air pollution over a long period of time, but it isn’t pretty. The dollar cost of treating this environmental problem and the health of the children after the fact is as yet unknown and unaccounted for in ADOT’s projections.
- The ecosystem of the South Mountain Corridor will be disrupted, with unknown costs to wildlife populations, fragile desert plants, and water resources. The dollar cost of trying to account for these issues is as yet unknown and unaccounted for in ADOT’s projections.
The ecosystem of the South Mountain Corridor will be exposed to potential HazMat disasters. The potential for a disaster in this fragile ecosystem is very real. There has been no planning for the possibility of this type of disaster occurring. Its cost both in dollars and in the damage it would do to the ecosystem would be devastating.
The South Mountain Freeway is not worth this cost!