The campaign to stop I-3 through Western North Carolina is underway. And guess who is on the House Committee on Transportation - our very own Robin Hayes, NC-08. This is just another reason we need to re-take the Congress this year.
In 2005, Congressman Charlie Norwood re-introduced plans for an interstate (originally proposed by Max Burns) that would go through Savannah, GA to Knoxville, TN, by way of Augusta. This proposed bill is known as Interstate Three, and is said to link a nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, TN, to the site of the Savannah River nuclear facility.
Congressman Norwood's (warped) reasoning:
-There is a need for interstate linkage between military hospitals and facilities in the interest of the strategic defense of the Nation.
-E Georgia, W North Carolina and E Tennessee are underserved by N-S Interstate would bring economic benefits and increase public safety.
-Interstate would be named in honor of the US Army 3rd Infantry Division, "tip of the spear" during the Iraq war.
I-3 will also have a major effect on the environment. The original study on I-3, said that the interstate would run through three National Forests, in three different states. Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee are the homes of the Chattahoochee, Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Appalachian Trail, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are also potentially in I-3’s path. Interstate Three will also hurt local and regional water, air, archeological and natural resources.
The interstate will leave in its wake a destruction of natural beauty, and the industries that depend on tourism will suffer greatly. I-3 will bring environmental and economic disaster in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
What can you do?
-Write to Robin Hayes, Elizabeth Dole, and Richard Burr to express your opposition to building I-3.
-Write to the NC Board of Transportation to express your opposition to spending scarce transportation dollars on this boondoggle project.
-Join the Stop I-3 Coalition.