ADOT has encouraged many exaggerations about the proposed SMF, including the following:
Myth: The SMF would improve traffic in the valley and relieve the congestion at the Broadway Curve.
Fact: ADOT says that any freeway will improve traffic in the valley and make things better for commuters. The realities do not back this up for the SMF. The SMF will become the CANAMEX Truck By-Pass by default. This will increase the truck traffic through the Valley of the Sun. The effect will be that the I-10 in the West Valley and the South Valley will have more truck traffic than ever because the trucks must get to and from the new truck by-pass! As for improving traffic on the Broadway Curve, even an ADOT study has shown what anyone could see through common sense – the SMF will have very little effect on traffic at the Broadway Curve.
Myth: The only alternative for the SMF is along the Pecos alignment.
Myth: The damage of blasting through one corner of South Mountain to build the SMF would be insignificant.
Fact: The significance of a cut through a mountain depends on the one who is viewing/enjoying/exploiting the mountain. ADOT expects to remove over 4 Million cubic yards of South Mountain and make a cut 20 stories high and wide enough for 8-10 lanes through 3 mountain ridges. ADOT claims this is insignificant! Is that because no one will notice since it is in a wilderness area? Is ADOT missing the point or what!? A freeway would not only make it noticeable because traffic would be driving through there, but it would also destroy it as a wilderness area – and that’s the whole point; South Mountain Park is a wilderness park! If South Mountain is destroyed now, what will be next?!
Myth: The SMF would cause only a small amount of environmental damage, which would be fixed during the building of the freeway.
Fact: Building the SMF would create many known environmental problems and many more potential environmental problems that are as yet unquantified or are unquantifiable. Blasting through the mountain is only the beginning. This does much more than just remove dirt and permanently scar the mountain. It creates cliffs that even ADOT admits will not necessarily remain stable after the desert weather has had time to work on them. The SMF will also change animal movements and make them change their eating patterns in the process (this can affect residents as much as it affects the animals), create water runoff issues (ADOT shows very little grasp of how this must be dealt with), require movement of wells (ADOT is not yet sure these wells can be moved, and they don’t care), require cleanup of existing hazardous material, create potential open pathways for freeway accidents/HazMat spills to send poisons straight into the water aquifer that feeds the water supply, disrupt fragile desert plant life (it was supposed to be protected in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve), and none of this even begins to address the effects on the ecology of the fragile wilderness environment if a HazMat accident occurs on the freeway!
Myth: Building the SMF would be cost-effective for the taxpayers.
Fact: ADOT started with $0.8 Billion estimated cost for the 10-lane SMF, by 2006 it was $1.7 Billion, 2.4 Billion in 2008, and (after some hocus-pocus) $1.9 Billion for an 8-lane SMF in 2009. By our accounts it would be at least $2-$4 Billion for 8 lanes (in today’s dollars) by the time it would be built. This only counts direct freeway costs, and doesn’t even count lost Federal dollars because of increased air pollution. ADOT is out of control because they are unaccountable for the money they spend! See our analysis.