We have been informed that the FHWA has approved the proposed ramps off of the Van Wyck-in a letter sent by the local FHWA office to NYS DOT (of which we have gotten a copy of). Apparently the basis of the agency's decision is that the ramps will mitigate traffic on the highway but, in making that assertion the Feds are using the Willets Point development as a given. Without getting too technical the FHWA is using the built project as its baseline for making the judgment that the ramps will mitigate rather than exacerbate highway traffic.
Lost in this spectacularly inane judgment is that the ramp approval is itself the linchpin of the ability of the city to go forward with the Willets Point project-and the FHWA needed to use the "no build" scenario as its baseline. if it did there is simply no way that the ramps can pass the federal agency's own rigorous criteria.
Think of it. If you assume that the project is built-putting the ramp approval cart before the project being built horse-than anything that the city does-including building a stairway to heaven-can be seen as mitigating of the 80,000 daily car and truck trips. With this logic you don't need any stinkin' traffic studies-and the back and forth between the DOT and the FHWA for the past three years has been a pathetic sideshow.
Make no mistake the FHWA's decision is an example of agency incontinence and the result is that the regulators have befouled themselves and open themselves up to a massive lawsuit that will expose their incompetence as regulators as well as the way in which this process has been politically hijacked by the mayor and the governor acting in collusion.
Ever since the mayor endorsed AG Cuomo on September, 6, 2010-and the governor elect went on to appoint Joan McDonald (a former VP for transportation at EDC)-we knew that the fix was in. This in spite of the fact that five local civic associations representing 10,000 households have called on the FHWA to conduct an independent study of these traffic clogging ramps.
So we will do what we must and the NYSDOT-now a wholly owned subsidiary of Mike Bloomberg-and the Feds can expect a federal lawsuit that will expose the way in which the regulatory process has been hijacked by behind the scenes skulduggery. In New York the crony capitalist rule but their day may be waning as the Congress looks to pass the Private Property Protection Act. Until it does no one's property in NY is safe from Blomberg, Cuomo and their rich cohort of friends.