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Fwd: Road Warriors take note.




>======================= End Part 1 / Begin Part 2 =======================
>Dear Friends,
>
>Yet another ecological and economic threat from NAFTA.
>
>            NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAYS THREATEN NORTH AMERICA
>
>  I couldnt think of a more disastrous project if I had to think all
>year, exclaimed Randy Ghent of the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium.
>  Indeed, politicians and large corporate interests are threatening
>North America with a scale of highway development unprecedented since
>the 1970s, all under the guise of free trade.
>  Pushing several NAFTA Superhighways from Canada to Mexico, these
>special interests hope to boost large amounts of long-distance truck
>traffic they hope will result from the North American Free Trade
>Agreement. Or at least that is their excuse for building more highways
>after the U.S. Interstate Highway System has been declared complete.
>  No politician ever had a maintenance program named after him,
>asserted public works expert Roy Kienitz.
>  The NAFTA Superhighway scheme would add to air pollution, traffic
>congestion, oil dependence, global warming, roadkill and human death.
>Local economics and quality of life would suffer, as development moves
>from town centers to narrow strips along the highway.
>Many realize that NAFTAaffecting the U.S., Canada and Mexicohas
>caused a corporate exodus to the south, robbing the U.S. of over 600,000
>jobs.
>  But this new, lesser-known NAFTA-related scheme could possibly be even
>more disastrous than the trade agreement itself. Yet the media outside
>Indiana have generally steered clear of this international issue.
>
>The I-69 Boondoggle: A Corporate Hoax
>  Small, independent farmers need help, not road blocks, testified
>southern Indiana farmer Gary Seibert. That is what the I-69 extension
>will be, a great dam that splits up our farms and separates our
>communities. We have a name for it when you take our homes, our farms,
>our natural resources, and our way of life and promise us pie-in-the-sky
>in return. Its called rural exploitation. Weve heard it all before and
>we decline your offer.
>  Of the various proposed routes, the extension of Interstate 69 would
>be the most damaging and costly NAFTA Superhighway. The I-69 presently
>extends from Flint, Mich., to Indianapolis. But as a superhighway it
>would plow through farmlands, forests, and hundreds of communities in
>eight states plus Canada and Mexico.
>  Regardless of the environmental impacts, two words really determine
>the future of this highway,  noted Alexander Ewing of the Chicago-based
>Environmental Law and Policy Center. One is finances and the other is
>politics.
>  Backers of the I-69 extension, now known as the Midcontinent Highway
>Coalition, originally just wanted a leg from Indianapolis to Evansville.
>  We found out quickly that Congress wasnt interested in a 175-mile
>highway connecting one town to another, explained Jim Newland, head of
>the I-69 coalition. The only way to get national attention was to
>create a coalition of states. Thats how the I-69 idea grew beyond
>Evansville to Paducah, Ky., and Memphis, then to Shreveport, Houston and
>Laredo.
>  Of course if additional large amounts of long-distance trade were
>necessary, rail would be approximately eight times more efficient than
>trucks, according to research conducted at the Oak Ridge National
>Laboratory. However, supporting local small business is much more
>environmentally and socially responsible than buying goods from
>corporations abroad via rail or truck.
>In southern Indiana alone, over 200 farms would be bisected by the
>I-69 NAFTA Superhighwayincluding nine Amish farms. Over 1,000 acres of
>forests would be destroyed for the Indianapolis-Evansville right-of-way
>alone.
>
>Free Trade: A Bad Deal for Everyone
>  All significant monetary contributions to the Midcontinent Highway
>Coalition were donated by special-interest corporations. And all of the
>advantages to highway expansion and new highways are corporate
>advantages.
>  For example, local small businesses give way to shopping malls and
>corporate chains such as McDonalds and Wal-Mart. Local agriculture also
>suffers.
>  The case of a common food product, tomatoes, unfortunately shows the
>reality of NAFTA in action. Between 1993 and 1995, NAFTA-induced
>U.S.-Mexico trade caused prices paid to Florida tomato farmers to drop
>22 percent. Meanwhile, the retail price on tomatoes rose 3 percent. The
>difference amounts to a 25 percent profit reaped by transnational
>corporations, rather than being passed on to the consumer.
>Indeed, the great sucking sound that was so feared during the
>negotiations for the passage of NAFTA in late 1993 is being heard and
>cheered today, claimed the Dallas-based NAFTA Superhighway Coalition in
>what was intended to be a pro-highway article.
>  For it is the sound of corporate America gravitating toward this
>international trade corridor. It is the surge of products moving to
>market and the sound of money filling corporate coffers... It is the
>free enterprise system at work.
>
>Corporations Lobby for I-69
>  I-69 supporters, led by Rep. Bud Shuster (R., Pa.), chair of the House
>Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, are guzzling contributions
>from donors along the proposed route, government records show. Texas is
>Shusters biggest donor state after Pennsylvania. In fact, 62 of
>Shusters 77 biggest Texas contributors are located along the proposed
>I-69 corridors in Texas.
>  Majority Whip Tom Delay has also been a major NAFTA Superhighway
>supporter. As a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee, he
>doles out federal highway money. His brother, Randy, a $300,000 per year
>highway lobbyist for the I-69, helped organize Texas fund raisers for
>Shuster.
>  Corporations that donated include Williams Brothers Construction,
>which is already doing $100 million of work on Houston highways; J & S
>Consulting Engineers, specialists in highway design; S & B
>Infrastructure Limited, designers of bridges; the Ayrshare Corporation
>and George Mitchell, both developers.
>
>[end]
>
>addendum:
>
>Coalition Unites Highway Opponents
>  The Coalition Against NAFTA Superhighways has formed, uniting groups
>in all three nations against the I-69 extension and the other proposed
>north-south trade corridors.
>  Organizations join the coalition and build the opposition effort by
>lending their names to the Statement of Opposition (below).
>Additionally, they can educate and activate their constituencies, lobby
>government officials, host local slideshow presentations, write press
>releases and hold press conferences, organize rallies and protests, and
>bring other groups into the coalition.
>  Please invite organizations with whom you work to sign onto the
>following statement:
>
>
>                Coalition Against NAFTA Superhighways
>
>            - Statement of Opposition to Proposed Routes -
>
>     We work toward a world free of unsustainable economic activity,
>valuing protection of our farmlands, forests and communities.  Concerned
>with the globalization of corporate power, we support rail freight and
>local production as alternatives to more long-distance trade and trucks
>on the road.
>       The proposed NAFTA Superhighways the I-69 extension, the I-49
>extension, the I-35 upgrade, and other such routes would cut swaths of
>destruction from Mexico to Canada. Costing upwards of $14 billion for
>the U.S. portion of I-69 alone, NAFTA Superhighways rob taxpayers of
>funds vital for maintaining existing roads and pursuing alternative
>modes of transportation.
>       Such highway construction undermines local economics, adds to
>global warming, and perpetuates unsafe travel that kills people and
>millions of animals.  Jobs suffer across North America as corporations
>move to northern Mexicos  free trade zone  to avoid labor and
>environmental regulations.  With petroleum to virtually run out in the
>U.S. around 2020, we don't wish to increase our petroleum dependence via
>road building and unnecessary long-distance trade.
>       Therefore, we join a growing movement questioning the wisdom of
>new road construction and striving to end motor-vehicle dependence and
>further sprawl.  To offer an alternative vision to the paving of the
>planet, our diverse group of organizations hereby unites in the
>Coalition Against NAFTA Superhighways.
>
>[signatures of North American organizations]
>
>For information on the Coalition Against NAFTA Superhighways, and the
>Anti-Road Show it is organizing, contact the Alliance for a Paving
>Moratorium at (707) 826-7775 or <alliance@tidepool.com>. Or write to
>P.O. Box 4347, Arcata, CA 95518, USA. The group is establishing a web
>site and listserve specifically for organizing on the NAFTA Superhighway
>issue.
>
>
>With Kindest Regards,
>
>Barry Carter
><bcarter@igc.apc.org>
>Blue Mountain Native Forest Alliance
>Voice 541-523-3357
>Fax   541-523-9438
>
>At this very moment, lawless logging
>is destroying the ecosystems which provide
>the air we breathe and the water we drink.
>
>Insanity is doing the same thing
>and expecting different results.
>
>
>============================== End Part 2 ===============================
>