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Archive for Thursday, October 7, 2010

New EPA air quality standards could mean higher gasoline prices for Lawrence residents

Morning commuters drive out of a thick fog between Eudora and Lawrence on Tuesday. About 20,000 Douglas County motorists commute into Kansas City each day. If Lawrence is determined to be out of compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, all gasoline stations in Douglas County likely would be required to sell specially formulated, low-vapor gasoline during the summer months.

Morning commuters drive out of a thick fog between Eudora and Lawrence on Tuesday. About 20,000 Douglas County motorists commute into Kansas City each day. If Lawrence is determined to be out of compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, all gasoline stations in Douglas County likely would be required to sell specially formulated, low-vapor gasoline during the summer months.

October 7, 2010

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Local health and transportation leaders are eagerly awaiting a number from the federal government that could affect how much Lawrence motorists pay for gasoline.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce new air quality standards by the end of October. There are concerns that the new numbers for allowable ozone may push Lawrence into noncompliance.

“If this does come to pass, I think it will have a pretty large impact on the community,” said Richard Ziesenis, director of environmental health for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Changes, most likely, first would be noticed at the gasoline pump. All gasoline stations in Douglas County likely would be required to sell specially formulated, low-vapor gasoline during the summer months. Stations in Kansas City already face that requirement. Estimates on how much more the specially formulated gasoline would cost vary.

But Scott Zaremba — an owner of Lawrence-based Zarco 66 Inc., which also operates stations in Kansas City — said he’s seen the price variations range from 2 cents to 20 cents a gallon. The specially formulated fuels more heavily rely on ethanol, the cost of which can vary based on corn and other crop prices.

“What’s for sure is that it is going to raise your price, period,” Zaremba said. “If that product is required, there is no getting around higher prices.”

But Tom Gross, an air quality regulator for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said it was still too early to predict whether Lawrence would be considered out of compliance. The current regulation allows no more that 75 parts per billion of ozone in the air. The EPA hasn’t released the new number, but Gross said the agency had indicated it would be between 60 and 70 parts per billion.

The last time Douglas County had its air quality monitored, it checked in at 72 parts per billion. But that measurement was taken nearly four years ago.

That’s why Ziesenis said a reasonable approach would be to install a monitor back in Douglas County. Federal regulations rely on a three-year average for air-quality readings, meaning Douglas County would have three years to show whether it is meeting the new standards.

But Gross said the EPA could choose to declare Douglas County out of compliance without a monitor being installed. That’s because about 20,000 Douglas County motorists commute into Kansas City each day, and the EPA has the authority to rule those commuters are contributing to Kansas City’s air quality problems.

That frustrates Zaremba. He said that makes the process too arbitrary. For example, he said it is known that range burning in the Flint Hills contributes to spikes in ozone in Kansas City, so, using the EPA’s logic, the Flint Hills region also should be required to help solve Kansas City’s air quality issues.

“The Flint Hills obviously would scream bloody murder about that,” Zaremba said.

Lawrence and Douglas County have undertaken efforts to reduce emissions. Those include buying hybrid buses for the public transit system, adding bike lanes to roads, and Westar’s project to reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plant on the northern edge of Lawrence.

But Todd Girdler, a senior transportation planner for the city, said regulators would be looking for what the area can do in the future, not what it already has done. Future projects could be more difficult, he said.

“The 800-pound elephant in this area is that we have a lot of congestion on a road that doubles as a state highway,” Girdler said. “If we had the South Lawrence Trafficway built, we would have less truck traffic idling on 23rd Street, and that would help.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is expected to make a recommendation on whether Douglas County is in compliance with the new regulations in early 2011. The EPA will make the final decision.

Comments

ivalueamerica 3 years, 6 months ago

New EPA air quality standards could mean higher gasoline prices for Lawrence residents

it could also mean lower health care costs because of cleaner air

it could also mean a better quality of living

it could also mean more rapid expansion of energy alternatives reducing our dependence on foreign oil

it could also mean less reliance on Muslim countries

It could also mean lower energy prices from alternative fuels in the future.

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overplayedhistory 3 years, 6 months ago

There is no cheap way to dig ourselves out of the expensive hole we dug. Passing on a livable environment to our children is a choice, one that is just to expensive to make. So eff you children of America we had our fun.

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northtown 3 years, 6 months ago

COW FARTS---I think MERRILL farts are the problem--Who is this person,and his he writing all of this from where he works?If so fire the idiot now for wasting time on the job!!!!!!!!!! Go away you know it all idiot!!Then the air would be cleaner!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

merrill (anonymous) says…

But Bolder is not most cities. Like us, it has a university that does not create the imperatives that nine to five jobs do. The tie between "incomplete" streets and the original articles is a bit tenuous. Sounds like another Merrill "want" that really will not do much for us except cost money.

I would love to see how many of the ideas you put forward actually save me anything given the investment required to implement them and the resistenance from many to adopting them. Oh, I know - we make them!!

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Some commuters could employ the K-10 connection. With several bus runs all day long surely some could take advantage. Save money and keep miles off the personal vehicle.

No doubt the more that ride more convenient KCMO/joco stops could be arranged. I would assume.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

City driving is a large polluter ..... the bottom line.

Incomplete streets will hamper climate change strategies

The transportation infrastructure in the United States is not diverse enough to accommodate an increase in pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. Many trips are made by automobile because of incomplete streets that make it dangerous or unpleasant to walk, bicycle, or take transit.

In fact, a national survey found that bike lanes were available for less than five percent of bicycle trips, and more than one-quarter of pedestrian trips were taking place on roads with neither sidewalks nor shoulders . Other surveys have found that a lack of sidewalks and safe places to bike are a primary reason people give when asked why they don’t walk or bicycle more. For example, a recent survey of Florida residents found only 25 percent felt it was safe to walk along or to cross the closest U.S. or State road.

Walking and bicycling are zero-emission transportation modes, and transit is a lower-emissions mode – using transit can help a solo commuter who switches from driving to transit to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 pounds per day, or more than 4,800 pounds in a year .

Complete Streets are essential in order to make it possible for Americans to drive less and use our streets to get around more easily on foot, bike, and public transit. The potential to shift trips to lower-carbon modes is undeniable: The 2001 National Household Transportation Survey finds that 50% of all trips in metropolitan areas are three miles or less and 28% of all metropolitan trips are one mile or less – distances easily traversed by foot or bicycle.

Yet 65 percent of trips under one mile are now made by automobile , in part because of incomplete streets that make it dangerous or unpleasant to walk, bicycle, or take transit. Complete streets would help convert many of these short automobile trips to multi-modal travel. Other studies have calculated that 5-10% of urban automobile trips can reasonably be shifted to non-motorized transport .

Places that are giving people options are seeing a reduction in their emissions.

Boulder, Colorado is working to create a complete street network, with over 350 miles of dedicated bike facilities, paved shoulders and a comprehensive transit network.

Between 1990 and 2003, fewer people in the city drove alone, more people bicycled, and transit trips grew by a staggering 500 percent. The reduction in car trips has cut annual CO2 emissions by half a million pounds .

Complete streets policies aren’t just a worthy end in the themselves. They’re also an important means to help reduce heat-trapping pollution and should be an element of every jurisdiction’s climate change toolbox.

http://www.completestreets.org/complete-streets-fundamentals/factsheets/climate-change/

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George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

Guilt by association - because some of us commute to KC all of us should pay more for our gas? Exactly how much pollution is generated by the 20, 000 (sounds high) people who commute to a metro-area of two million? No wonder people get upset with government!!

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

Cow flatulence is going to be a problem. There needs to be a consensus on cow poots. No doubt about it. Maybe a waiver can be sought for. Unions got one for Obamacare.

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240 3 years, 6 months ago

What this article doesn't mention is that if the new standard is set to 60 ppb, then where ever there is an air monitor (not very many) in Kansas will be in non-attainment. This is more than just an expensive gas issue. If the standard stayed 75 ppb some KC metro counties would go into attainment status.

http://www.epa.gov/glo/pdfs/CountyPrimaryOzoneLevels0608.pdf

The link is the 2006-2008 data, the newest data hasn't been released and you can see not many places can attain 60 ppb.

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puddleglum 3 years, 6 months ago

hilarious. the real issue here is the "increased cost' of gas, right?

so why is it more expensive? because they are watering it down with ethanol-and charging you more for it? sounds familiar....when else did we fall for this one? oh yeah, when the gas companies got the feds to pass the elimination of leaded fuels (lead cost the companies alot and hurt profits) The story then was: we have to take the lead OUT of the gasoline, so it will cost a little more from now on...in fact-they did nothing of the sort, rather they just left the lead out, and lowered the octane rating (quality).

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itwasthedukes 3 years, 6 months ago

Why does the EPA get to set some arbitrary number and all of you sheep plan ways to comply. We don't have health issues related to pollution. Why do the sheep argue about rules imposed by a Nixon agency. I know most have you have forgotten but we are still free in this country.

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dlowell 3 years, 6 months ago

No one forces you to buy a car, or to drive that car. That is an individual choice. However, we all have to breathe the same air. Many here are complaining about the government allegedly taxing them to death. But what about the costs associated with asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, all of which air pollution contributes to?

What I'm hearing is, you prefer having to pay between five and 20 cents less for gas to having clean air for you and your children to breathe. Consider the health of your community here, I implore you.

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puddleglum 3 years, 6 months ago

Czech this out: we already have higher gas prices.... look at the Kwik shop prices at 6th & wakarusa compare to the Kwik shops in Topeka....magically, they are 10 cents/gallon cheaper!

remember that the next time you get all warm and fuzzy about your dillon's card 'saving' you 10cents/gallon at the pump. wudda scam.

Now I fill up in topeka whenever I can.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence, Kansas City Hall is a large violator of our air quality just by their choice of transportation for city officials.

Fuel efficient cleaner travel is simply not high on the list. This decision is made at the top.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

USA citizens have had at least 30 years to stop driving vehicles that use too much gasoline for everyday use. After 30 years of refusing to make the best choices on their own now we must pay more by our own choice. Let's not pretend.

Just think how much easier it would be to back out of parking downtown if all were driving smaller fuel efficient vehicles. As it is most all downtown vehicles are large 4 wheel drive types that make it hazardous for backing out because of wrecked vision.

More new highways cannot stop gasoline powered air pollution. More new roads bring more polluting vehicles. Less driving and fuel efficient vehicles are the only answer. Most trips are only 1-3 miles from home. Walking and biking are practical alternatives. It's our choice.

Green Cars, Fuels, and Transportation for the 21st Century http://www.sierraclub.org/transportation/

Dumping coal plants and nuke plants are one more part of the equation. Fortunately dumping coal plants and nuke plants will create about 500,000 new jobs.
http://www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/nuclear_power_plants/articles.cfm?ID=9720

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Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

It's amazing that, just because some screwball in the federal government wants to throw her considerable weight around, so many people in this town are happy to lie down and roll over...and start whining over whose fault it is. In France, those people were known as 'collaborators'.

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northtown 3 years, 6 months ago

One more thing-Why can you get a burn permit in Topeka and certain times of the year-Maybe have them quit this also--????????There is no answer-God Luck-Jus quit driving around so much-then you could talk on your phone at home!!!!!!!!!!!!

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northtown 3 years, 6 months ago

Build the SLT,it would help a little? What about coal burning power plants?Would doing away with these help? Traffic is terrible everywhere in lawrence,and all are in a hurry-slow down,do your shopping with one trip,and stay at home more...........Lawrence some kind of city it is!!Always another stupid problem!!!!!!!!!!!

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 6 months ago

It would be cheaper to pay the fine than to buy those air quality friendly busses that will run all over town empty.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Union of Concerned Scientists

"In recent months, the public debate surrounding climate change has seen few incidences of truly egregious junk science. While skeptics remain both defiant and vocal (and well funded), few continue to publicly deny that greenhouse gases (GHGs) can produce global warming or that global temperature has risen in this century in some part due to human activities. This is largely due to the fact that climate scientists, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have become more vocal in informing policy makers and the public (primarily through the media) about sound science on the subject. In turn, many policy makers have accepted and acknowledged the scientific findings. Moreover, evidence of early warning signs of global warming are accumulating; climate models are improving; and formerly skeptical corporations are withdrawing their support from skeptics' organizations -- all of which together weakens the skeptics' untenable arguments.

Yet the skeptics refuse to give up entirely. Instead of blunt denial about climate change and its underlying causes, skeptics are turning to more politic messages. Bolstered by sophisticated marketing, these new messages are ones to which the public will be more receptive. Thus, instead of "Global warming is not happening," skeptics now say "It will bring benefits" or "It won't ever be as bad as they say." They often selectively use economic studies to claim "We can't afford to deal with it." Further, the skeptics seem to be increasingly focused on policy makers, particularly the US Congress.

Of particular concern to scientists is the fact that the new messages are often supported by papers selectively culled from the peer-reviewed literature and often twisted out of context. Some of these strategies are illustrated below, including recent examples to demonstrate that SSI scientists should remain vigilant to challenge this latest wave of inappropriate portrayal and use of science."

http://www.ucsusa.org/ssi/archive/climate-misinformation.html

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Kontum1972 3 years, 6 months ago

well the clock runs out in 2012...according to the Mayan Calendar....so just enjoy the remaining couple of years...

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CLARKKENT 3 years, 6 months ago

UNLESS I READ THE STORY WRONG, THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE AIR QUALITY OF KANSAS CITY. IF THAT IS THE CASE, WE ARE SCREWED.

IF OUR WONDERFUL CITY FATHERS, AND DOUGLAS COUNTY COMMISSION KEEP SAYING NO TO NEW BUSINESS AND NEW JOBS, WE ARE SCREWED. LOWES IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE, THERE ARE MANY.

THE GOOD THING ABOUT LIVING HERE IS THAT WE CAN LEAVE DOUGLAS COUNTY TO BUY GAS AND OTHER GOODS. FOR .20 CENTS, WE SURE CAN AFFORD TO DRIVE TO LEAVENWORTH OR JEFFERSON COUNTY TO PURCHASE OUR GOODS. COULD BUY GROCERIES ALSO, AS THE SALES TAX IS LESS. THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS TO BYPASS LAWRENCE AND DOUGLAS COUNTY.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Union of Concerned Scientists

"Clean Vehicles

Consumers deserve better performance and less pollution than automakers currently provide. Our experts in diesel, gasoline, and advanced vehicle technologies provide consumers and decision makers with the information they need to build a robust economy based on cleaner transportation choices. "

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/

Union of Concerned Scientists

"Clean Energy

No single solution can meet our society's future energy needs. The answer lies instead in a family of diverse energy technologies that share a common thread: they do not deplete our natural resources or destroy our environment. Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning the ever-present energy around us into usable forms."

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Union of Concerned Scientists

"Global Warming

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal."

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

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notajayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

But ... but ... but I thought the price of gasoline only went up when Republican presidents conspired with their cronies in the oil business. How could this be?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 6 months ago

“The 800-pound elephant in this area is that we have a lot of congestion on a road that doubles as a state highway,” Girdler said. “If we had the South Lawrence Trafficway built, we would have less truck traffic idling on 23rd Street, and that would help.”

For a city official to make such an unsupported and obviously political statement ought to be a fireable offense.

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Chris Beilman 3 years, 6 months ago

"The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce new air quality standards by the end of October." ----
Changing the current standards are ya? Come on, who sets these standards and the real reason behind it? Think about it people ...

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rtwngr 3 years, 6 months ago

I say strip the EPA of it existing power. Period. The ozone depletion is a myth.

merrill - Charging tolls on roads is equivalent to a tax. To take your suggestion to the n'th degree, why don't we charge a toll for every street in the country if it is such a great idea?

The existing government is looking for a way to bilk more money from the populous. Typical "tax you to death" liberals!

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Steve Miller 3 years, 6 months ago

A 3 year continued study does not indicate any urgency on this matter. It is just another way to get more tax money out of you. They are going to slip it in on the area and you won't even know it. Trust me it is all about money and nothing else. Ethanol production factually adds to the carbon foot print, not the other way around contrary to popular belief. Then food prices will go up because the corn is being used for fuel. I.E. food / fuel competition... Wake up, big brother needs more money. Wait until the health care bill gains full speed, then we will be bitching about that..

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

more roads = more pollution

fuel efficient automobiles = less pollution

in town driving = the most gas consumption by a large margin = the most pollution

riding bikes/walking/public transportation = less pollution = dollars saved

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commuter 3 years, 6 months ago

We need a tax on all people who own lawn mowing businesses. How about $1,000 a month. Merrill time to start paying some taxes!!!!!!!!

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Stacy Napier 3 years, 6 months ago

You should do something about those 20,000 leaving the city every day for a good job. Lawrence has the chance to add 125 good jobs with Lowes, but no we don't want that becuase it isn't in just the rigth place.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 6 months ago

Change we can believe in! (He never said it would be 'painless'!)

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toe 3 years, 6 months ago

This is a non issue in Lawrence. Higher costs are like higher taxes. Welcomed.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

More roads bring more gasoline powered vehicles = no help for air pollution.

There are not that many trucks on 23 rd street. The truck talk is an attempt to intimidate taxpayers into supporting additional pork barrel spending on a bad idea.

"A first-class bikeway system like Boulder's or Davis would help as would a solar electric bus system. Solar-electric cars will help but aren't really sustainable over the long run. Only bicycling, walking and public transit are sustainable. "

http://www.completestreets.org is a practical solution and fiscally possible as well.

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gccs14r 3 years, 6 months ago

I want to know what trucks they're talking about. I rarely see more than one at a time on 23rd (and often see none at all), and they're most likely making a local stop if they're going through town. It makes zero sense to go through Lawrence on 23rd if you're not stopping here. The SLT won't do much to relieve local traffic congestion.

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Clark Coan 3 years, 6 months ago

We're getting Topeka's air pollution and passing it on to JOCO. That new system to regulate traffic flow through monitoring traffic lights will help. A connector from K-10 (Noria Rd.) going south of the Wakarusa to the new four-lane US 59 would help with truck traffic.

A first-class bikeway system like Boulder's or Davis would help as would a solar electric bus system. Solar-electric cars will help but aren't really sustainable over the long run. Only bicycling, walking and public transit are sustainable.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 6 months ago

This is great, far-left unelected bureaucrats now imposing some very heavy-handed laws and regs. I do believe I saw this one coming several years ago.....some far-rightwing nut wrote an LTE about it.

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doc1 3 years, 6 months ago

Build the SLT. Merrill Your wrong.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

Internal combustion lawnmowers are abominations when it comes to air pollution. Ban them now.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't build anything new. People are still getting to work and anywhere else they want to go.

More new roads bring more new houses and more and more cars/trucks. Send this traffic elsewhere!

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parrothead8 3 years, 6 months ago

Who needs clean air? Let's just walk around with plastic bags tied over our heads to protect us from the ozone.

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Stuart Evans 3 years, 6 months ago

Eco-terrorists. these bastards aren't going to rest until they've taxed us to death and beyond

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Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

Or why not just tell the EPA to stuff it?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Why not instead spend money on a vehicle that will get at least 30mpg for in town driving? This is the only decision that will effectively make a difference. Or spend more time walking,riding bikes and using the T.

Why spend $300 million local big government tax dollars on an obsolete design such as the trafficway? Cars are a huge tax load on taxpayers!!! The trafficway was designed with the local real estate community in mind. Developers and cars are very expensive budget items.

There are better options in which the user pays:

To say there is no other way is simply not acceptable.

SAY NO to the high tax dollar obsolete Trafficway that will NOT improve 23rd street. The only way to improve 23rd is to SAY NO to KU students…… good luck on removing the ONLY dependable Lawrence revenue source. KU students make Lawrence what it is.

SAY YES to a no tax dollar bypass that can accomplish many things such as saving tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars = prudent thinking not pork barrel waste.

I-70 connectors east of Eudora were among the potential choices. This could be a toll road thereby users to include 18 wheelers help finance the project. This concept accomplishes many things.

The new I-70 connectors off K-10 going north, I-70 and the west leg of K-10 should all be toll roads. This combination provides a loop around Lawrence thus eliminating any need for further construction of new pork barrel highway projects.

Thus saving about $275,000,000 - $300,000,000(million) for us local taxpayers.

It also services: • Johnson and Douglas county traffic going to northwest Lawrence or Topeka. Or Lawrence and Topeka traffic going to JOCO. • the Eudora Business Park east of 1057. • East Hills Business Park and the southeast Lawrence industrial park. • the Lawrence airport. And it: • diverts traffic around the city. • keeps the SLT out of the wetlands. • reduces congestion for morning and afternoon commuters. • Douglas County taxpayers save millions upon millions of dollars. • Eliminates use of tax dollars. • Eliminates the need for an eastern bypass * Would not dump fast moving traffic off uncomfortably close to the congested city limits on to the K-10 speedway • allows KTA fees to pay for the highway and maintenance.

Now this plan is on to something….. many concepts built into one fiscally responsible plan = prudent thinking.

I-70 is there to be used so let's do it. Saving REAL BIG local tax dollars is a new concept. Pork barrel projects = wasted and inefficient use of tax dollars.

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engagedecoy 3 years, 6 months ago

“If we had the South Lawrence Trafficway built, we would have less truck traffic idling on 23rd Street, and that would help.”

That would solve a lot of problems.

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