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Royal Oak Voices Opposition to Interstate 75 Widening Plans

City Commissioners state their concerns about current I-75 expanison plans at Monday night meeting.

Do you oppose the expansion of I-75? Credit: Patch file photo
Do you oppose the expansion of I-75? Credit: Patch file photo
Royal Oak City Commissioners voiced opposition Monday night of Interstate 75 widening options that could impact the future of property values, increase traffic noise and aggravate air pollution among other things.

Delegates of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) voted in June to approve a long-range plan that includes the expansion of I-75 from Eight Mile Road to M-59 in Oakland County. The plan would move I-75 from three lanes in both directions to four lanes.

"I don't really see a tangible benefit to the city," said Commissioner Mike Fournier. "We would be required to contribute money, time and effort to really expand a
highway that would either bring people through our community or allow people to leave our community."

The project would divert ACT 51 dollars, which are collected from motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, from local road improvements, Fournier said.

"It would divert those funds from fixing our roads, which a number of them are in disrepair, and put it toward adding new lanes on I-75," said Fournier, adding, "To me that doesn't make a lot of sense."

Fournier asked commissioners to adopt a resolution requesting that the expansion project be excluded from SEMCOG's 2040 Long-Range Plan.

"The reason why we're doing it tonight and why this was rushed is because this project has been accelerated," Fournier said. "It was once part of a long-term plan and now in November it's moved along, maybe even into the 2014-2017 timeframe."

Commissioner Peggy Goodwin offered support for the resolution.

"I think if you choose to move north of M-59 and commute to Detroit or Royal Oak that is a lifestyle choice, but I don't think our community should have to sacrifice because of somebody's lifestyle choice," Goodwin said. 

Commissioner Sharlan Douglas pointed out the timing of the expansion comes when residents living in the Woodward corridor are being asked to comment on a Bus Rapid Transit project.

"Transit is desired by younger generations. It will serve our communities well and for the State to be considering spending money on roads at the same time we are looking at supporting transit is just incomprehensible to me," Douglas said.

The resolution was unanimously approved and will be delivered to SEMCOG, which meets on Dec. 6.

"Having this resolution in front of them showing Royal Oak's opposition...will hopefully influence the executive committee at SEMCOG to hold off on this idea or hopefully terminate it and reevaluate the situation," Fournier said.

[Read the full resolution here.]

Do you oppose the expansion of I-75? Tell us in the comments.
Nate McAlpine December 03, 2013 at 09:28 AM
Three lanes are plenty. It gets backed up at rush hour, but no worse than any of the other expressways. There are much better places to spend that money.
Lisa Wilson December 03, 2013 at 10:13 AM
So what happens to the houses that sit along I75 on Stephenson Highway?

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