ADOT Energizes Picture Rocks Against Avra Valley 1-11

It had been widely advertised for weeks that Arizona Dept. of Transportation’s (ADOT) Jay Van Echo, Project Manager for the current three-year, $15 million, Tier One Environmental Impact Study, would be the guest speaker at the monthly Citizens for Picture Rocks (C4PR) meeting on June 20. The 15-year-old 501(c)(4) community group had heard from I-11 opponents at their May meeting, and wanted to give ADOT equal time.

ADOT cancelled their appearance with just four days notice. ADOT’s Community Relations Project Manager, Laura Douglas, emailed C4PR president Della Grove:

“ADOT respectfully declines to participate in the June 20 meeting. It is imperative that we maintain the same structure and expectations as our six public meetings held in May and that we follow the guidelines set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Highway Administration in order to maintain the objectivity and accountability of the study process. Unfortunately, our ability to present the current information as it stands and follow the set procedure applied during our public meetings is being met with unanticipated consequences. As such, we are not confident that the June 20 meeting structure and needs, along with civility and respect for all participants and presenters, can be guaranteed.”

Grove responded that the sudden cancellation was “unprofessional,” and “this is really going to leave a bad taste with the citizens of Picture Rocks about this whole situation. They deserve more than they have gotten. We understand that you don’t have all the answers. But I was hoping that this meeting would answer some of their concerns.”

As Grove circulated ADOT’s email people wondered about the “civility and respect” reference. No one knew of any ADOT I-11 meetings where there was not civility and respect, except at the May 3 Marana meeting where an ADOT representative physically stopped a resident from asking a question about costs. The reference to “set procedure” and “structure and needs” also raised doubts about ADOT’s willingness to have an open discussion with area residents.

Despite notices that Van Echo’s talk had been cancelled, around 60 people filled the Picture Rocks Community Center wanting to talk about I-11 in the Avra Valley. With no guest speaker replacement on such short notice, Grove and the C4PR Board decided to have an open discussion about the planned new interstate, and the people of Picture Rocks spoke out loud and clear.

While a few attendees had unanswered questions about the proposed highway, it was clear that nearly everyone present opposed I-11 coming through the Avra Valley. That mirrors the 1,000-plus public comments submitted to ADOT during the “Alternatives” comment period, with people favoring either a “No-Build” or follow the I-10 corridor alternative. They cited concerns from area politicians, the City of Tucson, and various state and federal agencies which preferred using the existing I-10 route rather than negatively impact existing I-10-related jobs, Avra Valley tourism, wildlife, archaeology and the thousands of families who live there.

Out of the discussion came an action plan. For the first time in its 15-year history, Citizens for Picture Rocks would take an official stand opposing an Avra Valley I-11 route. The Board of Directors will draft a statement to be submitted for a vote at the August 15 membership meeting. C4PR plans to get the word out every way they can, including in their widely-read community newsletter, Picture Rocks Digest.

Readers will be encouraged to notify their legislators, notably Supervisor Sharon Bronson, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, and Congressman Raúl Grijalva (who has taken a public position against an Avra Valley I-11). C4PR also decided to oppose any changes to the Avra Valley’s Ironwood Forest National Monument in President Trump’s current review of national monuments.

13 Comments

  1. I have yet to see an environmental impact statement that has estimated the amount of water that will be required to support the housing developments planned by Huckleberry and Don Diamond. Nor have I seen any estimates on the water consumption that will be required by new businesses along the proposed highway. I would like to see those water projections before any further action is taken. In case ADOT and Pima County haven’t noticed, we have been in a 15 year drought. I have lived in Picture Rock for over 30 years and can attest to the drastic reduction in vegetation and wildlife since moving out here in 1985. To compound the water shortage, snowpack levels in the Rocky Mountains that feed the Colorado River have fallen short for decades. The water level in Lake Meade, is almost to the point where water rationing is planned for 2018. That means drastic cuts in the CAP allotments which is used by Pima County to recharge the aquifer. California has 1 million people relying on bottled water for all their needs because of dry wells and contaminated water. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/A-Tragedy-Hundreds-of-Thousands-of-California-Residents-Exposed-to-Contaminated-Water-415136393.html That means more pressure being placed on the Colorado River. With Global Warming-caused droughts, Phoenix has about 10 years before going critical and Tucson’s not far behind. We will end up with a ghost freeway to nowhere through ghost-town Tucson and Phoenix when the water goes, people go, leaving the rest of the population with a huge tax bill. Voters turned down this proposal, so unless ADOT and the County foot the bill, why should we be forced to do so when we voted it down?
    I find that the County Supervisors and ADOT totally irresponsible in their continued steamrolling disregard of the voters’ and residents’ vote against this project, just so a few influential people can make more money while sacrificing the environment and the wildlife. Shame on all of you.

  2. Wake Up Sheeple. Rigged Economy What Rigged Economy? Our Government wants to build the largest highway project in 50 years, I-11 NAFTA Highway from Mexico to Canada. The government will spend hundreds of billions of USA tax payer money to build a highway to move goods from “factories in Mexico”. I’ve attended the ADOT meetings for 2 years, not a single (token) new American factory was presented to justify this highway. Perfect example of a rigged economy, raise gasoline tax on the 99% to pay for a new highway for the owners of factories in Mexico. ADOT did not include any criteria for improvements in big rig trucks 10 or 20 years in the future, such as, self driving/braking/see thru dust storm technologies of the future that will improve trucking efficiency. ADOT did not include any use of trains ( far more efficient than big rig trucks ) for moving goods from Mexico thru the USA or ships from Mexico to Canada (paid for by Mexico and Canada) for that matter. Wake Up People — demand that our government spend hundreds of billions of USA tax payer dollars building factories in America, employing Americans building and working in the new factories for decades into the future. This is last major part of NAFTA, last year our government evaluated Mexican Trucks + Mexican Drivers and determined it is OK to let Mexican Trucks & Drivers into the USA and I-11 will be their new highway. ADOT meetings had no War on Drugs representative from Homeland Security, or DEA or Boarder Patrol to discuss the impact of illegal drugs coming into the USA via a major new highway I-11 from Mexico. Tell our President —- NO Donald Trump NAFTA Highway!!!!!! Enough Con-Man smoke and mirrors, our President said NAFTA was a very very bad deal. Our President needs to publish the list of brand new factories to be built in Arizona and in the USA, bringing jobs back to America, Making America Great Again vs building Mexico a highway at USA taxpayer expense.

  3. And what about that pesky resolution the County passed some years ago. Didn’t they say themselves, something about NO by-pass freeway(s) around Tucson?

  4. Anyone who buys into the notion that the Dingleberry highway has anything to do with diverting traffic is a complete and utter moron.
    The little people are about to get stomped on by the Pima county players club. The local yokel wheelers and dealers are taking local corruption to the next level. The land speculation, the off ramp to nowhere, the timely deceptive opposition are all nothing but smoke and mirrors to hide the real deal.
    Those that fled from the city life to cheap far out acreage will now be fleeced in the name of progress. Public lands will be used to line the pockets of the chosen insiders.
    But make no mistake, moving traffic is really low on the list of benefits of I-11 scheme.
    Pima county has always been home to the corrupt concept of what you can’t make you can always steal.
    Just as TUSD sees the deseg order as nothing more then a Graftjulva crafted cash cow gift of never ending federal funding for the district, the Dingleberry machine sees I-11 as a “Diamond pit” of cash for those morally bankrupt enough to be inside players.
    Our totally useless and utterly corrupt county leadership and its “friend$” will be the only real benefactors from this wonderful scheme.
    Funny how the Chuckie master plan only benefits the masters of the county.
    And don’t forget, all those trucks carrying hazardous cargo will soon be banned from town and will be bypassing Tucson heading straight through the “Diamond pit” of Swan Southlands.
    It would far cheaper to just pave a road in gold bricks to the cattle gate of the “Diamond pit”, but then the players club wouldn’t make any money. And this has little to do about moving traffic and everything to do about making money.
    Yes the little will buy a pie only to be divided and consumed by the fat cats of Pima county.

    Bon Appétit…

  5. Unfortunatly for the residents of Pima County and particularly Avra Valley Chuch Huckelberry, Pima County’s unelected administrator wants I-11 for his cronies and he will not be denied.

    He has no shame.

  6. Be like jdfast – just say NO.

    We’re tucson. We don’t need no stinkin’ new freeway, we don’t need no stinkin’ jobs, we don’t need no stinkin’ future for our children. We’re Tucson, just say NO! Stand up, Tucsonans, RESIST Growth, RESIST Prosperity, be the ‘progressive’ liberal utopia promised by our leaders!

    • what, you must be new to the area, this is not a no growth thing, its a rejection of crony politics. Over the years the county and city both have kept or forced business out of the area. I remember when motorola owned most of the NW side of tucson, wanted to expand its line of work here (clean industry) but the powers that be would not have it. Said build on the southside instead! Well they moved to nogales (now long gone), as the locol pols believed that the hotel/motel, fast food places would be all tht was needed, and I guess they found that was a fallacy. They pushed business out to more friendly areas/states one was a nationally know gun smith who moved to one of the dakotas. They gave away the farms just like with the ballon companies, and they all moved away after a short stay, slime fast, a mex bean cannery (that never even bothered to show up), IBM, plus more that had been established (burr brown for example).

      No the project you are complaining about has nothing to do with growth, its cronyism at its best. How many studies have been made to improve rail service, improve the interstates only to be found as a waste of $$ and now this project has been raised again. There is nothing in the area to promote anything as it is not a business friendly environment, the by pass will only ensure that that remains in place. I worked for a company that wanted to expand and be near the interstate, rail lines etc and it never happened, oh yes they expanded what they had in SV and shamed ol wakeup that he could have had the business in tucson, but instead they added on in SV. So no this is not a no growth thing, its a no crony thing. Remember the CAP? Well just to show ya, ol dirty dennis deconcini got wind of the planned route, bought up what he could then sold to the feds! This is the same type of thing only it will add nothing to the local economy.

      • hank – I’ve been here 50 years. It’s 100% about no-growth. There’s no demand for rail service here. In fact, there’s very little other demand than restaurants, landscaping and government jobs. And that’s all intentional for the reasons you present. The no-growthers who disguise themselves as ‘environmentalists’ or ‘who care about the beauty…crap’ won in the 90’s.

        And building out I-10 through Tucson is a no-go for commercial freight. Not that long ago that I-10 was widened, and except for having great access roads, it’s already undersized. And quite frankly, there’s just no reason to go through Tucson, the town too liberal to survive.

        Sounds like you’re more concerned about who profits and denying them rather than building out infrastructure.

        • what, again this is NOT about ‘infrastructure’ as it is designed to BYPASS tucson as much as possible. IT IS about a few making PROFITS off the backs of the people. Dont know what infrastructure you are referring to, but there will not be a need for once the bypass if ever built is built. As I noted just look where they developed ‘infrastructure’ and see what is there. NOTHING, empty buildings just like in tucson itself. small malls left vacant all over and now the cornerstone/anchor stores are going TU due to lack of sales nationally and locally.

          Seems you agree on the basic argument its the last sentence that is confusing, because that is why the idea is being pushed, to benefit a few.

    • Guess you are for outsourcing jobs to Mexico, right? This is what all this is about, a direct pipeline to the cheap labor in Mexico. Have you heard of near shoring? Have you heard of H1B Visas for foreign engineers that will be used to design the products in the US and then produced in Mexico? This BS project has absolutely nothing to do with growth. Wait, it does, it grows the money in the pockets of the cronies and takes the money out of your pocket and perhaps you job to Mexico via I-11. Might want to stay a little more informed than to call me a no growth advocate. I am the farthest from that, but I know a bad deal for the taxpayer when I see one.

      • Of course it’s a bypass to Tucson. Tucson is an impediment to interstate commerce. The rest of the country isn’t going to let Pima County stop this. And the ‘resistance’ from Avra Valley being fueled by no-growth Tucson liberals is all about stopping development.

        And to jdfast – I’ve seen the jobs go to Mexico having worked for maquiladoras for many years And I’ve also seen them leave to go to China. Low cost labor moves. Fact of economics. It is our trade deals that govern the impact on domestic jobs. And this isn’t about you being a Pima County taxpayer. This is a federal interstate. You think the federal government should allow Pima County and the loony liberals to stifle interstate commerce? You must be a supporter of Free Baja Arizona.

  7. Well, kids, the handwriting is on the wall. The state and Pima County will do what they want to do and that is build I-11 and aid in the export of our jobs to Mexico. Near shoring at its best led by the cronies that stand to make millions on the sale of land and a gift interchange at Swan Southlands. SSDD in the political world. This is the first time since I moved to this area that I have agreed with anything a Grijalva has said. However, there has to be something in it for him. It just works that way. We need to keep a very close eye on this POS plan and dump it before it has a chance to be born.

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