Update: Kentuckians for Progress Seeks to Join, Dismiss River Fields Suit Over Bridges Project

by Gabe Bullard on May 12, 2011

A recently-formed group that aims to move the Ohio River Bridges Project forward is seeking to join, then end a lawsuit between conservation group River Fields and the Federal Highway Administration.

Kentuckians for Progress filed a request today to join a suit against the government brought by River Fields and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. River Fields asserts that the federal government has not properly justified the case for a two bridge project, and the group would like to block an east end bridge from being built.

Kentuckians for Progress attorney Victor Maddox says as it stands, the case does not adequately represent all of views of the community.

“I’m not saying the federal government hasn’t been vigilant, but it necessarily has a different perspective. The officials that are representing the Federal Highway Administration don’t live in the community,” he says.

Maddox says he’s not sure River Fields has proper standing to file the suit, and he could file a motion to dismiss the case if he’s allowed to join it. The case is currently stalled as the federal government conducts new environmental impact studies on the bridges project.

Kentuckians for Progress is led by former Jefferson County Judge Executive Rebecca Jackson. Its membership includes union, business and development leaders.

Update: River Fields president Lee Cory has issued the following statement:

“RF believes that true public interest is best accomplished through fact- based decision making. Federal law requires a supplemental EIS whenever there are significant changes in a project. The changes proposed by the two governors and Louisville’s Mayor triggered the SEIS process for a review of the new proposals. The SEIS process will include opportunity for public comment and we encourage all interested parties to participate in that federal process. River Fields will respond to KFP’s motion to intervene through the appropriate court procedure.”

Kentuckians for Progress support the construction of both bridges. Many other groups, however, support an east end bridge only, or a staggered project that begins with the eastern span.

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