A new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group called Highway Boondoggles 4 identifies nine wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, slated collectively to cost at least $30 billion.
One of those highways is Shreveport, Louisiana's I-49 inner-city connector, which we've covered in depth at Strong Towns. Not only is the highway project incredibly expensive and unnecessary, it would also destroy a low-income neighborhood and rip a hole through the heart of the city.
As page 16 of the Highway Boondoggles 4 report explains:
Louisiana officials are making plans to build an expensive highway that will harm a community, reminiscent of highway projects that devasted urban areas in the middle of the 20th century. The plan is to spend $547 million to $640 million building a new 3.5-mile cut-through section of Interstate 49 that will divide the northern section of Shreveport. A loop interstate already exists around Shreveport and is the “no build option.”
The new section of highway would cut through the middle of the neighborhood of Allendale. All of the cut-through routes proposed so far would require demolishing at least one church and at least 50 homes. Unsurprisingly, many residents have expressed outrage over the plan, for which state officials were drafting an environmental impact statement as of November 2017.
U.S. PIRG and Frontier Group utilized Strong Towns' articles and research on the Shreveport highway issue to help put together this report. You can read all of our coverage on this wasteful highway project, its impact on Shreveport, and the fight to shut it down here.
In addition to spotlights on new boondoggles, Highway Boondoggles 4 also checks up on previously-highlighted boondoggles, and shares some promising wins in the fight to end wasteful, harmful road spending. Finally, the report concludes with clear recommendations on how states and cities can avoid these sorts of projects including focusing on fixing existing streets before building new ones and investing in more affordable alternative transportation options.
This is important research and Strong Towns is proud to be part of it.