From Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection
On July 16, 2021, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS now identifies TWO possible Preferred Alternatives, a West Option through Avra Valley AND an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region.
ACTION #1: REQUEST AN EXTENSION OF THE PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE FROM 30 DAYS TO 120 DAYS (from August 16, 2021 to November 16, 2021)
The first action we are asking you to take is to submit a short comment letter requesting an extension of the public comment deadline from the current 30 days to a longer 120 days (see section below for various ways to submit your comment). You can read the comment letter we submitted with this request HERE. Feel free to copy the language in this letter and/or personalize with your own words.
A summary of talking points from our letter requesting an extension of the public comment deadline include:
- The 30-day comment period is insufficient for review of the documents and ensuring the public is aware of the opportunity to review and comment on the project.
- Because the impacts of this project are intergenerational, we urge you to consider an extension to provide the public with a full and fair opportunity to participate in this process.
- Many of the communities impacted by the Preferred Alternative Options within the Corridor Study area are minority and low-income populations who in many cases do not have access to the traditional means by which federal EIS processes are advertised and published. Both proposed alternatives will have disproportionate adverse effects on these populations and they will need adequate time to be notified via ground mail or other means.
- The West Option through Pima County is proposed through traditional Tohono O’odham lands where tribal members may have limited internet access.
- The Draft EIS documents totaled close to 5000 pages of text, maps, and other figures – the length and breadth of this document warrants a longer public comment period to allow adequate review by the public.
- A new Interstate freeway has not been built in this metropolitan area since 1961 – over two generations ago. Many of the issues will have long-lasting, significant impacts on our community and we need sufficient time to review the record, research issues and concerns, and provide a substantive response.