To the Journal editor:
The recent denial of Marquette County Road 595 is good news for the people of Michigan.
It is a start in stemming the tide of the large amount of corporate welfare being pumped into this seemingly never ending project and its exhaustive tax payer funded approval process.
Moreover, it has been quite clear for some time now where the transportation route is going (AAA-510-550 to Marquette and beyond). Didn’t our local public officials read the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved permit?
From what I understand, the County Road Commission would have inherited the maintenance of CR 595 in perpetuity. Currently, the County is responsible for maintaining a public road system that stretches nearly halfway across our country (over 1,400 miles including state and county primary/secondary roads).
As existing roadway infrastructure continues to decline, the county was hoodwinked by corporate interest to argue, at our cost, that a new road was necessary and turned a blind eye to the fact they are years behind in maintaining existing transportation infrastructure.
The onus was put on local and State public officials, and corporate interests to prove that the new road was going to be in the best interest of the people and the environment. That onus was simply not met.
Blaming the denial of CR 595 on the EPA or (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) is misguided and disingenuous. As for jobs, upgrading of the existing transportation route to the tune of $45M plus the annual maintenance work should employ a goodly number.
These are those “good jobs” so highly touted by U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls. My only question is: once the existing road upgrade is complete who will be responsible for the annual maintenance?
You can bet it won’t be the mining corporation and we’ll continue to see corporate welfare, in some form or another, pumped into the project for years to come.
Jeff Knoop, Negaunee
Printed in the February 3rd, 2013 edition of the Mining Journal.