By Diego Aguilar-Canabal : thebaycitybeacon – excerpt
The state transportation agency pushed “pause” on a disruptive freeway project after it ran afoul of Emeryville and Oakland.
After major pushback from Emeryville, Oakland, and Alameda County officials, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has delayed a major construction project that would tear down the “MacArthur Maze,” a series of overpasses connecting the I-80, I-580, and I-880 freeways near the eastern entrance to the Bay Bridge. Adding to their frustration, city officials say the purpose of the project isn’t clear, while other capital improvement projects on nearby state highways languish.
Emeryville residents, including Councilmember John Bauters, were alarmed to receive a notice in March of a public hearing at Caltrans District 4 offices that had already taken place in February, where the project’s environmental assessment was laid out. “Caltrans has been working on this project for almost two years and never contacted Alameda County, Oakland, Emeryville or any of the regional boards that oversee transportation or air quality standards about their work on this proposal,” Bauters wrote in response.
Bauters immediately called Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who also had no prior knowledge of the project. Schaaf, who told KQED she was “furious” over the situation, called officials at the Port of Oakland, who were similarly caught by surprise.
Earlier in the year, Caltrans issued a Draft Environmental Document (DED) as required under California’s environmental laws. The state agency ultimately provided a “Negative Declaration,” meaning the project would have no adverse impacts. But Emeryville and Oakland officials immediately pointed to major traffic issues the project would create, as closing freeway ramps for construction would divert thousands of trucks and commuters onto smaller surface streets…
Caltrans appears to have heard the city loud and clear. The project is now indefinitely delayed….
That was hardly enough for the irate Councilmember Bauters, who insisted that the process should start all over again, if at all… (more)
More dishonesty among the thieves at Caltrans discovered by major city mayors, not aware of plans to tear down major freeway access to the Bay Bridge. Honestly? this sounds like a joke on The Onion, not a serious news headline.
What happened to the idea that government is elected to serve the public at their pleasure? Could it be the cold bureaucratic culture that is running amok in America, that breeds dishonesty, greed and corruption?
How do we stop the growth of this sickness that has taken over our country? Should we start by filing complaints? Do we need new prescriptive legislation that spells out in clear language not only what is required of our civil servants, but, what the consequences may be if they fail to uphold the laws and the letter and intent of the law where public notice and input is concerned?