Environmental Justice For the Champlain Parkway

Mr. Kenneth Sikora, Jr. Environmental Program Manager , Mr. Wayne Davis Project Supervisor Vermont Agency of Transportation and all concerned,

This memo is in directed to you out of serious concern surrounding the community engagement process and and the fatally flawed environmental justice review of Champlain Parkway Project. We find it difficult to believe that this $47M highway construction project is moving towards implementation, given this new plan to route traffic across Pine Street, directly through the Maple/King Street neighborhood, the most racially diverse community in Burlington, save the Old North End! We feel that communities of color should have been afforded sufficient opportunity to be a part of discussions on this matter. 

Further, it is unacceptable that draconian environmental justice processes are being used as a part of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on a project with such far-reaching implications.  It is our hope that this project is brought an immediate and indefinite halt that serious consideration may be given to the vast racial demographic and socioeconomic changes happening in Burlington since these plans began and the adverse and disproportionate impact that this project has on one of the most diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Burlington. 

Most disturbing is that this project blatantly protects white affluent communities at the expense of the health and prosperity of black and brown and poor communities (traffic, pollution and property values).  It ignores the fact that the superfund site exists because of the white capitalist greed and is complicit at best in the unwillingness to do what so clearly best for all in addressing the mitigation of the superfund site in conjunction with (or as a condition for) this project. Instead of cleaning the site, the decision has been made instead to run a highway through the middle of the second most diverse community in Burlington? This is wrong. 

As the racial demographics of our State continue to change, we owe it to ourselves both morally and economically to create and maintain an environment where the black, brown people and poor are safe and made to be able to prosper. We can do better and we must do it now. Stop the project and include the impacted community in planning.

Respectfully,

Mark Hughes
ED, Justice For All
Coordinator, Vermont Racial Justice Alliance 
e: mark@justiceforallvt.org
t: @Mark_A_Hughesm: 802.532.3030