Saturday, April 5, 2014


from Jude Aiello

Dear City Council members, I urge you to vote against the proclamation Council woman Montero will be presenting at the City Council mtg this Monday, April 7. 
After attending both the hastily arranged stakeholders mtg on Friday, March  24th (it was announced the previous afternoon), and the LUTI mtg on April 1, I was made aware of additional reasons this proclamation should be denied:  One being that it violates the Title VI Environmental justice standards as there was no meaningful outreach to the community, the other that CDOT  had put a deadline of April 1 to get a decision of support from the City in order to reach out to private sector partners (for the toll lanes planned for the I-70 projects).
Obviously CDOT is leading City Council by the nose so that it can get the funding, both private and Federal (i.e. all of us taxpayers), it needs for it's supposed 1.2 billion dollar addition to I-70.  Since the cut and cover will actually triple the width of the highway (by the time all the exits lanes, service roads and extra barriers are in place), my guess is that the price may also triple.  Below are additional reasons this proclamation should be denied:
1) Since the SEIS of the "preferred" cut and cover alternative for I-70 is not due out until July (the 6th time it has been delayed), I think it is premature to present this resolution.  Not only are the necessary mitigation measures unknown, but the cost of doing them, or the environmental threats, may be too great to justify this plan. 
As a taxpayer I object to the blind approval of a plan that may strap the entire state with a debt which may prevent implementation of other needed projects, and may put Denver in particular in a position of having to pay lawsuits for decades. 
This expansion alternative was rejected years ago as being too environmentally risky as it would not only possibly be digging up contaminated soil, but would be going under the water table of the Platte.  After all the water and drainage issues that I-25 has experienced without going down nearly as far as this plan will do, it's hard to believe this rejected plan has been resurrected by the new CDOT director. 
2) The proposed resolution puts the cart before the horse by supporting the I-70 expansion and then begging for mitigation measures. Oddly, it denounces the original I-70 placement as "devastating" to the community in so many areas and then goes on to detail how the expansion will continue these harmful effects!  Why isn't this resolution demanding the assurances of mitigation before agreeing to the cut and cover plan?
The original I-70 took 500 houses away from Denver, and the poorest most vulnerable were impacted the most.  This expansion will claim at least 60-125 more, just at the time when people are clamoring to move into the center of the city. An alternative that would return housing and provide new business opportunities by rerouting the highway, as other cities have done and are doing, would be worth considering in a resolution! CDOT and Council have turned a deaf ear to the increasing number of citizens who are requesting a supplimental EIS of the reroute of I-70 along 270 and 76.
3) The resolution uses very weak and unenforceable language such as CDOT "should" instead of must, will or shall.  
I know Council has a history of approving other council persons proclamations and bills as a "courtesy" to each other.  This system of "voting for your issues so you will vote for mine" has led to some very poor decisions. This one in particular could come back to haunt the entire City if the residents near this massive project start to sue over the predicted severe health impacts that will be caused. This could be Denver's Rocky Flats! I urge you to reject this resolution and instead ask CDOT to do an SEIS of a reroute along I-270 and I-76
I would appreciate a return email verifying how you plan to vote on this issue. 

Respectfully, Jude Aiello, resident of Denver (and dedicated voter here) for 38 years


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