Now that they have released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the South Mountain Freeway (SMF), ADOT has become very cocky about telling Ahwatukee residents that the SMF is a “done deal.” This is a dark strategy to try to get residents just to give up and let it happen.
Not so fast, ADOT! You know that Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC) plans to take you to court! Are you trying to get our supporters to give up thinking that PARC will have to give up? It is way too late for that!
PARC has just begun to fight!
Some residents are getting letters from ADOT indicating that their homes will be appraised in preparation for being sold to ADOT. We have also been hearing that ADOT representatives are telling these residents more than just that. ADOT is apparently making promises. If you have received some of this information in writing, please send a copy of it to PARC, P.O. Box 50455, Phoenix, AZ 85076-0455. PARC will probably be able to use it in their court case against ADOT as just another piece of proof that ADOT has violated the law and predetermined a result.
Ahwatukee residents need to understand that we are in the middle of a process prescribed by the National Environmental Policy Act. Once the comments are in on the FEIS, ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are supposed to review them.
Of course, we know ADOT and the FHWA will then produce a Record of Decision stating that they have decided to build the SMF on Pecos Road. (Surprise! Surprise!) That will occur around the end of 2014. PARC will then file an administrative appeal, and that appeal will be denied.
At that point, after all administrative processes have been exhausted, PARC can and will file suit against ADOT and the FHWA in federal court. An injunction to stop all activity on the SMF will be a part of that suit.
PARC will have this matter of the SMF tied up in court for a very long time — probably three to six years. The matter will probably go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before it is finally settled. The bottom line is that PARC has a very strong case, and we expect to win it! There will be no SMF!
Of course, court suits are expensive. Please send checks to the above PARC address or donate by credit card on the PARC website at PARCtheSMF.org. For donations of at least $20, tell us your size and you will get a “Save Ahwatukee” T-shirt.
• Dr. Pat Lawlis is the President of PARC. She has been a resident of the Valley of the Sun for over 20 years.