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Bogus Data Used In Monroe Bypass Study

The Southern Environmental Law Center believes it's obtained documents that show the North Carolina Turnpike Authority conducted a bogus environmental impact study for the proposed Monroe-Connector Bypass. The Charlotte Observer's Steve Harrison has the story here. The federal government requires environmental studies for proposed roads. They are supposed to include a projection of what will happen if a road isn't built, such as other types of development. It's all part of an effort to get an accurate cost-benefit analysis. (WFAE's Julie Rose recently spoke to the Turnpike Authority's chief engineer about that process for the Garden Parkway proposed for Gaston County) But the Turnpike Authority's "no-build" study for the Monroe Bypass sassumed the 20-mile toll road had already been built. The Authority's chief engineer says the agency only made that assumtion for one of eight factors it had to study. The bypass still needs a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before construction can begin. Environmental groups are challenging a state water permit that's been issued for the road. They contend it will encourage sprawl. The road would begin near I-485 and largely follow U.S. 74.