(Host) The ceremonial groundbreaking for the next leg of the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway was held in Williston on Wednesday. Governor Jim Douglas was joined by Transportation Secretary Patricia MacDonald and a number of government and business leaders.
The mood was festive as speakers praised the efforts of those involved in moving the controversial transportation project forward. Douglas said the Circ is an example of how efficient transportation can stimulate economic growth:
(Douglas) “Under the leadership of Secretary MacDonald, the Agency of Transportation has been building toward a seamless network of roads, rails and public transit, so we can move goods and people as cheaply as possible with the least impact on our environment.”
(Host) Environmentalists, meanwhile, continued their legal challenge in federal court. Brian Dunkiel, a lawyer for Friends of the Earth, says there’s no evidence the highway will create jobs:
(Dunkiel) “There’s nothing in the record that we’ve reviewed so far that would support that contention, that the Circ would cause an increase in jobs. And in fact the one economic study that we are aware of shows just the opposite – that the Circ will move some jobs around, and most significantly will move jobs around from core city and towns out to the more rural parts of the county.”
(Host) This week, the environmental groups amended their lawsuit to include a request for more federal documents. They say the documents may shed light on the government’s decision to move the highway on a aster track for approval.