This is a guest post by CART attorney Clarence Hixon.
Hillview City Center, October 12, 2012
I attended the Hillview meeting on behalf of CART. During the meeting KIPDA staffer Mary Lou Hauber presented a plan for an Interim Transportation Improvement Program (Interim TIP) which she called an "update."
This new "Interim" TIP would have a promulgation track with a new conformity analysis in January and public comment period in March. This would be a TIP covering a four year period for projects using federal funds from 2013 to 2017.
Ms. Hauber seemed to stammer around avoiding an explicit discussion of why KIPDA has to prepare an "Interim TIP" but stated it was being done as "a precaution" in case anything should happen and the present TIP should be rejected.
What could happen? It could be the recent ozone excedence days are throwing the conformity of the present TIP in jeopardy.
The total additional emissions of particulate matter, ozone and carbon monoxide from mobile sources must not cause or contribute to exceedence of air quality standards. KIPDA has to submit calculations showing the additional transportation project using federal funds will “conform” to the plan for lowering pollution since the area is designated non-attainment for PM2.5 particulates and 8-hour ozone. In 2008 the 8-hour ozone average was lowered to 75 ppb (parts per billion) and our air quality on hot summer days has been exceeding that level.
One of the things Hauber mentioned was a "one year conformity lapse grace period." This backup TIP would carry federally funded transportation projects through in the case where the current approved TIP should lapse. "If anything happened and a lapse occurred we would not be able to move ahead with projects already funded." Sounds like significant undefined problems are occurring in the conformity area that are so serious as to cause KIPDA to drop back and punt.
Could it be that FHWA and EPA are going to flunk the conformity analysis because it has used the outdated MOBILE 6.2 program instead of MOVES or some other reason perhaps caused by 27 days of ozone excedences, but we really don't know and she didn't spell it out.
What else KIPDA is doing wrong?
At the Hillview meeting the next agenda item was "Connecting Kentuckiana" which is KIPDA’s "issues identification" portion of the new --not the interim-- Metro Planning process leading to preparation of a new TIP running 2015 to 2018.
Perhaps KIPDA staff think they are going to have an east end crossing by that time. They had five map stations to go to where KIPDA staff explained and pointed out features.The one called 'freight access' identified clusters of major freight operations, or ‘highway truck freight generators.’ These businesses have 100 employees or 100,000 sq. ft of warehouse space. KIPDA was very interested in prioritzing the highway system to serve these areas that generate significant daily truck traffic.
At no time during the presentations did KIPDA staff open a discussion about joblessness and poverty in the low income African American segregated areas of Louisville designated the Title VI areas referring to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This omission was surprising since CART members had attended several of the “Connecting Kentuckiana” neighborhood meetings, and made specific comments that intentional discrimination was occurring in the transportation project planning by stripping most funding from public transit and spending billions on east end bridges with disproportionate benefits to non-minorities.
Larry Chaney is a nice guy and came to the table and we played ping pong on the issue of Title VI.
I criticized the 'Issues" identification tables process because:
no African American persons present
no African American on the ‘issues' document committee
no clear and straightforward discussion of the Title VI area needs
no Table with Title VI area map and needs as part of ‘Connecting Kentuckiana’
Respresenting CART’s position, I suggested that Title VI issues needed its own committee and early and continuing discussion in the issues identification process. His response was that none of the Committee members was bringing it up. It appears that, unless a TTCC Committee member starts the discussion, it simply isn't discussed. This implies that Title VI issues are not at the forefront of concern. No surprise there as the entire group present was Caucasian and Title VI issues, along with public transportation is absent from this major planning effort just as they have been lost in every prior TIP planning process.
KIPDA robotically proceeds as usual pandering to the major industrial freight and commercial interests who pull the political strings and cannot be bothered to include even a perfunctory analysis of Title VI - a pattern evident at the October 12th meeting in Hillview.
The public highways are being enhanced and designed as freight moving corridors with most attention to congestion and wrecks numbers. KIPDA responds to runaway sprawl and supports it with new connectivity, lacking any concern with urban planning wisdom, leaving those concerns to someone else.
One could conclude from the TTCC meeting that KIPDA’s project planning and ‘listening process’ under the ‘Connecting Kentuckiana’ banner has gone awry. The voice KIPDA hears loudest, is the growing warehouse and shipping segments of the economy anchored by UPS and RiverRidge in southern Indiana. In reshaping our transportation system to serve low wage factory jobs in the outer belt, KIPDA is failing to address urban social and design problems and betting the farm on a boom and bust globalization shipping economy.