The below letter to the editor – which corrects several inaccurate claims – appeared in today’s Rome News-Tribune.
IN A RECENT editorial the paper questioned the discoveries of state-protected plant species — the Georgia Aster and Pink Lady Slipper — on Dobbins Mountain and located very near GDOT’s proposed US 411 Connector route.
This means GDOT must conduct additional surveys to locate and study habitat for these and other protected plants that may be located within Route D-VE. Presently, the re-evaluation of Route D-VE cannot be considered complete without the necessary botanical studies.
Additionally, the newly identified Georgia Aster population (which is near the 107-acre wildlife refuge) is considered one the largest in the state. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently said the discovery was significant.
And to be expected; GDOT never fully studied the route for the threatened flowers. If you remember, GDOT also failed to study streams on Dobbins Mountain, historic Dobbins Mine, acid rock and possible runoff at the Dobbins Mountain road cut, and more.
Interestingly, the paper stated that Route D-VE is not the only possible connector route. In the editorial, the paper surprisingly promoted its own alternate route — a highway from Rome that links to the Red Mountain Top interchange at I-75. Suffice to say the paper’s recommendation is one of many viable alternate routes.
Finally, Route D-VE represents a gross waste of environmental resources and tax dollars, and is hardly a direct route for motorists.
If anything, Route D-VE will only result in more delays and a continued misuse of our taxpayer money (at least $100 million). Smarter alternate routes exist and it is time for local leaders and residents to support one of the much cheaper/efficient designs.