|DOTD I-49 Urban Route.|
First, high ozone levels are a risk to health, particularly among our most vulnerable citizens. Those who work or exercise outdoors are also at risk.
Second, Lafayette has in the past been close to non-attainment for ozone, while Baton Rouge has been out of compliance. Currently all of Louisiana is considered to be in compliance with the federal standard of 70 parts-per-billion for ozone. Lafayette air pollution has improved, but there are continuing calls to make the ozone standard more protective. Non-attainment matters to Lafayette's future economic growth which could be impacted by restrictions and new requirements placed on any industry wanting to locate here. Beyond that, the most sought after companies looking for a new location are far less likely to choose a city with recognized poor air quality. Bottom line: our current good air quality is a plus for Lafayette to recruit new economic development.
Finally, what has ozone got to do with the I-49 Connector? If you listen to Louisiana DOTD and their consultants who are writing the I-49 Environmental Impact Statement you might think ozone and air pollution have nothing to do with their plan. But, our biggest source of ozone in Lafayette is from cars. Common sense tells us that the proposed elevated interstate through the heart of our city is going to concentrate heavy traffic on city streets that lead to and from the interstate. Further, much local traffic will avoid using the elevated highway because of its limited points of access and exit. Those cars and trucks will be forced to sit in traffic on city streets. And, if the Connector has tolls, expect even more traffic forced down to city streets. Expect troubling increases in ground level ozone.
|LRX Bypass Corridor Options (DOTD)|