How The North American Superhighway Will Hurt The Environment

Plans for a North American Superhighway will have major environmental effects, argues this article from The Valley Advocate of Connecticut.

"I-69 is a massive superhighway that already extends from Ontario to Indianapolis (through Michigan). There are plans to resume construction next spring and push it through southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, where it will connect with the highways of the Plan Puebla Panama in Mexico."

"Meanwhile, another part of this "Super Corridor" called Interstate 35 has been expanding from Winnepeg to Mexico, through North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Texas."

"All this asphalt, pollution, impervious surface, drained wetlands, traffic, is courtesy NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. I-69 and I-35 will be the major artery of globalization in the Americas-an aorta through our heartland four football fields wide."

"The road has already gobbled up hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped, pristine habitat, and displaced rural families through eminent domain "takings." When it's completed, it will profoundly reshape the Americas, gutting regions and, in Central America, cultures, while leading to more dam projects, clear-cutting of forests and other environmentally unfriendly activities. In addition, this 'corridor' will require $2 billion per year of public funds for 'infrastructure improvements.'"

Full Story: The World This Week: Nafty Business



Regional blinders firmly in place

The Valley Advocate is nowhere near the proposed highway and the article's tone verges on being hysterical with oddball references to Iraq, Soviet planning and a totalitarian corporate state.

The Valley Advocate doesn't clearly state where they are based but it appears to be in Connecticut. Of course they will scream "boondoggle" because it doesn't directly benefit the east coast. Worse, the writer doesn't even know where I-35 is.

Most of proposed improvements run through states which haven't been exactly booming economically and population density is fairly low for long stretches on land which isn't that scenic to begin with.

"The push for Interstates 69 and 35 has been brutal, driven by the greed of a few corporations that cowed Congress into funding this boondoggle while also destroying Amtrak and bleeding our railroads and public transportation projects dry."

The reality is Amtrak is seen as a boondoggle by folks outside the Northeast. It has little to do with unnamed corporations but a lot to do with people using the Interstate system and not using the rail system which is largely for freight in most states.

"Further, in the areas through which it is planned, no one wants it but a handful of corporate con men slurping at the public trough. Public hearings and protests have occurred along the route of Interstate 69, but they have done nothing to stem this massive boondoggle. The lazy press has spun the corporate framing narrative—that the superhighway is "inevitable" and any efforts to stop it are "futile."

That's an outright lie. I grew up less than a mile from I-69 in Indiana and there's little opposition. Showing a couple of websites and a dozen protesters isn't convincing to anyone over the age of five. I'm a transportation planner and believe me if there was a real opposition to a big project like this, there would be howls at public meetings. Pleas for the press to spin the story to the opponents liking is infantile whining when things aren't going their way.

There are better ways to frame the debate and pushing the country toward a better railway system but this article will motivate few with needless antagonism and even less factual reporting.

Strong Opposition To Freeway In Indiana

"That's an outright lie. I grew up less than a mile from I-69 in Indiana and there's little opposition."

I have been on the mailing list of CARR for years. This local group has consistently provided news for many years about strong opposition in Indiana to I-69.
Their web site is at

Also, I don't understand your objection to opposition from Connecticut or anywhere else in the country, since this is the NAFTA highway that will affect the entire national economy.

"I'm a transportation planner"
Heaven protect us from the transportation planners.

Charles Siegel

The Internet isn't reality

You may place your faith in CARR but didn't see any evidence on the website of a groundswell of support. There can be a lot of buzz on the Internet that just doesn't translate into action. Ask Howard Dean or Ron Paul about it. The mere fact they show a slideshow of a few protestors in Indianapolis (uncredited) and have to switch to Austin, TX tells me a great deal.

"In addition, I don't understand the objection to opposition from Connecticut or anywhere eles in the country, since this is the NAFTA highway that will affect the entire national economy."

As I have said before on other subjects, different parts of the country have different agendas and what works in one part of the country may not be accepted in another. What people don't know about a location can undermine their credibility and understanding of local wants and needs. The CARR website isn't as radical as the article in question. Ironically, the state motto for Indiana is "The crossroads of America". The state is fairly conservative so writing to the governor or the Indiana congressional delegation probably won't work and most local politicians will support even pork barrel projects they may disagree with privately. Lastly, Indiana still has strong ties to the auto industry so making the case for trains won't be easy.

The "NAFTA highway" will have a national impact but the epicenter will be in the Midwest and South. In the end, Congress is going to have make a decision and I haven't heard any of the candidates for president making a big issue out of it so it will happen unless the fiscal constraint argument wins the day.

Read Again What I Said About CARR

I wrote: "I have been on the mailing list of CARR for years. This local group has consistently provided news for many years about strong opposition in Indiana to I-69." I didn't say that all this news is up on their website.

I don't think you have followed the news reported to their mailing list, or you would know that they have said many times that the governor has ignored the large numbers of citizens writing letters opposing this freeway and speaking against it at hearings.

I haven't heard candidates for president talking about this, but I have heard Lou Dobbs talking about it. As much as I dislike Lou Dobbs, I think he is right on this one, and he is a sign that there is national opposition to this plan, as well as local opposition.

Of course, this plan has a global impact as well as a national and local impact, because of the CO2 generated by all the added trucking. It could also be killed (and replaced by rail) when we adopt laws to control global warming.

Charles Siegel

Geographical note:

The Pioneer Valley is in Western Massachusetts -- along the Connecticut River, but not in Connecticut.

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