We obtained an original copy of the rebuttal letter that recently appeared in the Rome News-Tribune and reads different than the version that appeared in the paper. There must have been “space limitations.” Nevertheless, read below.
In the column, “Road with no exit,” the paper said that $42.8 million has been asked (from potential T-SPLOST funds) for the $214 million, U.S. 411 Connector. Keep in mind, some reports indicate the road could cost taxpayers nearly $280 million.
The paper also stated, “One assumes state and federal funds previously earmarked during the 30-year stall to accomplish this [project] make up the remainder.” The paper’s claim is inaccurate.
First, GDOT (i.e. former board member David Doss) has stated in the press that the agency does not have enough money to build Route D-VE; hence the reason it is considering a modified route.
Secondly, the federal earmark that Congressman Phil Gingrey and Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss secured for the connector was only $25 million. In recent years, GDOT has tapped those funds for the project and now approximately $20 million remains.
Obviously, if GDOT does not have the money and the federal earmark is now only $20 million, where is the rest of the money going to come from?
I guess we are to “assume” that state taxpayers will be expected to ante up the remaining $151.2 million? And that is if next year’s T-SPLOST ballot initiative passes. If not, the total is closer to $194 million.
One thing is becoming clearer by the day. If the route is not modified to reduce cost and environmental obstacles, the 411 Connector might be headed to its grave once and for all.
FYI – Here is what appeared in the Rome paper – click on link.