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NW Current -District Should Start Klingle Road Project

July 28, 2005

The Northwest Current 

            Re:       July 27, 2005 Article on Klingle Road DEIS Hearing

 The July 27, 2005 article on the Klingle Road Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the legal boundaries within which the DEIS was prepared.   The article does not mention the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), much less offer an explanation of its basic principles.

In 2003, the DC Council passed the Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Act of 2003 which mandates that Klingle Road be re-opened to motor vehicle traffic.  The Act was signed into law by the Mayor. 

Because it is contributing funds for rebuilding the road as mandated by the Budget Support Act, NEPA requires the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to prepare a detailed statement of the environmental impact of that action.  While the statement must discuss alternatives to the proposed action, it is well settled, under years of NEPA litigation, that NEPA does not require government agencies to consider alternatives that do not achieve the purpose of the proposed action.   

FHWA, in coordination with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) and in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), has met its obligation to prepare a detailed environmental impact statement that includes a preferred alternative of restoring the road to its original two-lane configuration.  It also includes lesser, one-lane, alternative configurations.  Alternative C, the preferred alternative, not only provides a safe and effective two-lane road for cross-town travel, it is the least-costly alternative, and provides more environmental benefits to Rock Creek Park land within NPS jurisdiction than the other alternative road configurations.

At the July 21, 2005 public hearing, misguided opponents of reopening the road attacked the DEIS for not fulfilling a fantasy that DEIS preparation by federal agencies and DDOT would usurp District of Columbia Home Rule by overriding the Budget Support Acts mandate to re-open Klingle Road.  Heckling of that sort is misplaced.  There is simply no basis under NEPA to argue that the DEIS should have included non-road alternatives, like the hike-bike trails rejected by the Budget Support Act. 

The article reports Council Member Schwartzs statement that Klingle Road is a vital east-west passage that should have been completed yesterday.  FHWA, DDOT and the NPS, should take heed, approve the DEIS preferred Alternative C, and let the long delayed rebuilding of Klingle Road begin.


William H. Carroll        
North Cleveland Park

For additional information, please email support@repairklingleroad.org