Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Answer: Yes. As of the day of this posting there was a website constructed by persons opposed to a freeway in the 3rd Infantry Division Corridor at: http://www.stopi-3.org.
There was also a site that provides information without clearly favoring or opposing a freeway. One portion of this site is about the 3rd Infantry Division Highway Corridor. It is at: http://www.interstate-guide.com/i-003.html.
Another portion of this site was about the 14th Amendment Highway Corridor. It is at: http://www.interstate-guide.com/i-014.html. An Extension to I-85 from Montgomery, Alabama westward toward Mississippi is in the process of project development. Eventually, this project may be congruent with a portion of one or more study alignments of the 14th Amendment corridor. A website which provides information on this project is: http://www.i85extension.com/
Wikipedia had entries on both corridors at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposed_Interstate_Highways.
Fort Stewart is the home of the 3rd Infantry Division. Their web site is at: http://www.stewart.army.mil/
A government website containing the text of the 14th amendment and its ratification history is at: http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am14.html
A Wikipedia article explaining the context of the 14th amendment is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
FHWA is not responsible for information on websites not under the control of FHWA.
Based on a review of legislation, newspaper articles and information from the State of Georgia, the FHWA's understanding of the origin of this section is as follows:
Answer: FHWA will study at minimum the items noted in Section 1927, i.e., the cost of construction and the steps needed to construct highways in both corridors. Determining a cost estimate will require some identification of such factors as alternative locations, the geographic and environmental impacts that will have to be addressed as well as, for example, land costs. Section 1927 did not require the FHWA to make a recommendation on whether to build either corridor, and the FHWA does not intend to do so. FHWA generally considers such decisions to be the province of State, regional and local officials.
Answer: No. Neither highway has been designated as a future interstate. The statutory language in Section 1927 refers at one point to "...steps and estimated funding necessary to designate and construct". Although the word "Interstate" does not occur in this Section 1927 language, Section 1702 does, in five of the six relevant line items, refer to designation of a new Interstate highway. This alone does not meet the requirements for establishing a route as a Interstate or future Interstate.
The steps necessary to designate an Interstate are as follows:
A highway may be added to the Interstate System under 23 U.S.C. 103(c)(4)(A) if it has been built to Interstate standards, is a logical addition, and has been requested by the State transportation agency(ies) in which it is located. The State request is submitted to the FHWA Division Office, after coordination with local officials, for review and transmittal for the approval of the Federal Highway Administrator.
Implementing regulations for System designation are at 23 CFR 470 and for Interstate standards at 23 CFR 625. A website which discusses the rules for designation is at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/fapg/cfr0470a.htm#470111.
There are two general procedures for designating future Interstate routes, they can be found here, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/national_highway_system/interstate_highway_system/dfitm.cfm.
Answer: FHWA has no plans to do this. FHWA does plan to respond to the requirements of Section 1927 of SAFETEA-LU. These requirements are to report to Congress on the cost and steps needed to construct routes in these two corridors. Please see the statutory language page.
Answer: No. Similarly metropolitan planning organizations affected by the two corridors do not have to update their long-range transportation plans (such are required pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5303(i)). In fact, the adoption of new long-range transportation plans, which support or allow corridor improvement would be one of the steps required prior to construction of new freeways or improved non-freeway highways.
Answer: No. Similarly metropolitan planning organizations affected by the two corridors do not have to update their Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (required pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5303(j)). As in the case of plans, the adoption of improvement programs which support construction of new freeways or improved non-freeway highways would be one of the steps required prior to construction or improvement.
Answer: Roads and highways along the alignments identified for Congress in the final report have no set funding or plans for construction. Any current plans for construction of roads and/or highways along the noted alignments are the result of existing plans and not the result of the completion of these studies. Routes planned and/or funded for construction that are within the alignments will be noted and documented in the final report.
FHWA will not predict when or whether this construction will begin. If construction begins, it will be because of decisions by State and local officials, not FHWA. Prior to construction, an environmental review process would be required (as would public involvement). This process alone could be a lengthy one requiring several years, see: http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/baseline/section2.asp.
This process would take place for each useable segment (a segment that could be put into use even if no other segments were built, a.k.a., segments of independent utility).
Subsequent to the environmental process the following pre construction activities would be needed: detailed design, acquisition of right-of-way and authorization to advertise for construction bids.
Answer: The State of Georgia was authorized to receive funds for conducting the studies (see section 1702 of SAFETEA-LU.) However, FHWA received a letter from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) indicting that GDOT wished FHWA to conduct the study and indicating the intent of GDOT to return the funds noted above to FHWA.
10. Is FHWA aware of the extensive opposition to a freeway in the 3rd infantry division corridor, and, if so, why doesn't FHWA just refuse to conduct the study for this corridor or at least for the portion of the corridor for which highway improvement is most fiercely opposed?
Answer: Yes, FHWA is aware of the extensive opposition based on letters it has received. Notwithstanding this, the law requires studies.
Answer: Yes. Please review the 3rd Infantry and 14th Amendment Corridor websites for updates on public outreach.
Answer: After the studies on cost and steps to complete are finished, they will be sent to Congress pursuant to the legislative language. Subsequently any of the State transportation agencies or any regional or local agencies may use the studies or any additional information that was developed in the course of the work on Section 1927. Whether or to what extent to use information will be the decision of State, regional or local agencies.