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Jed Boal ReportingJohn Njord, UDOT Executive Director: "We have scrutinized this thing enough. It's time to move on."
The state creeps closer towards resuming construction on the long-stalled Legacy Parkway while opponents insist they have a better plan.
Bob Adler, Utahns for Better Transportation: "This is a win-win solution that will meet our travel needs and protect our natural resources."
The Utah Department of Transportation says it's time to move ahead with its revised plan, but opponents say their alternative is better and they are not ruling out another legal challenge.
The public comment period for the revised Legacy plan is over and UDOT hopes to resume construction in a year. But Utahns for Better Transportation say their alternative is better and cheaper. After going back to the drawing board, UDOT says it's ready to get rolling on Legacy Parkway again.
John Njord, UDOT Executive Director: "It's time to build this facility. It's time to satisfy this transportation need."
UDOT revised its route after a federal court order halted construction three years ago. The court ruled UDOT did not adequately consider options in the design and location, impact on wetlands, and failed to include mass transit. UDOT says it fixed the problems and the EPA sent a letter with a better grade for the project.
John Njord: "The Legacy Parkway has passed with flying colors. We received a B+, if you will."
Meantime, Utahns for Better Transportation propose widening I-15, developing mass transit first, and extending Redwood Road.
Bob Adler: "The citizens' smart growth alternative reduces congestion in the region better than Legacy, as measured by average commuting times."
Consultants tested their alternative and found it performed better than the proposed Legacy Parkway for less money. As for the EPA...
Bob Adler: "E.P.A. has not seen our full comments or travel demand models. We are confident once they see them they will agree with us that we have a practicable alternative."
Both sides say they want to work together and avoid a lawsuit, but they still have competing proposals.
John Njord: "The folks that have been opposed to this project, which are a small minority, have had their day. It's time to move on. It's time to address this significant transportation need."
UDOT says the halted construction has added more than 200-million dollars to the cost of the project. Utahns for Better Transportation say their plan could cost 300-million dollars less. UDOT will compile the 1100 written comments, including the citizens' plan, and put together a final draft. UDOT hopes for approval next fall.