Let common sense prevail in transportation planning

June 15, 2013 

Fairview Heights made a common-sense decision last week that should set a new tone for government entities everywhere. By canceling the Ruby Lane interchange at I-64, the aldermen showed that bad plans can be put aside.

However, it's disappointing that transportation experts, paid by the citizens, never questioned the wisdom of the city's plan. Engineers in the Illinois Department of Transportation merely provided the expertise on how such a plan could be executed. Whether it was necessary apparently never was considered.

Indeed, we find that their standard for approving such projects is whether the project is "feasible." Really? Almost anything we can imagine -- like flying to the moon and back -- is feasible. What's relevant is whether the project is needed.

An interchange at Ruby Lane clearly was never needed, and the council eventually acknowledged that fact.

What about cost? That seems to enter the decision-making equation only insofar as who is going to pay -- not whether the cost is the best use of transportation dollars.

Now we'd like the St. Clair County Board to look at the Gateway Connector project in the same common-sense fashion. We believe its necessity will also be found illusory.

The county should change its comprehensive plan to eliminate the Gateway Connector and replace it with sensible transportation projects that address existing priorities, and reasonable projections of growth.

Richard L. Skillings

Troy

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