The Draft Amendment, on page 13, acknowledges “[a] shift in the external truck volume from the Bayway to the Causeway can be expected due to a toll. . . . An obvious conclusion can be made that a truck toll . . . will put a strain on the capacity of I-65, the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, and the US 90 Causeway.” However, the impacts of increased truck traffic in Africatown is ignored. This project will create racially disproportionate burdens of: (1) increased truck diesel pollution that will worsen air quality with PM2.5 and about 40 cancer-causing chemicals that are scientifically known to damage human health; (2) significant safety risks from trucks traveling at speeds of 65 mph or faster on Africatown Blvd.; and (3) increased travel time for residents and limited access to historic sites due to truck traffic on Africatown Blvd. The Draft Amendment fails to meet Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, DOT environmental justice policy, and federal regulations set forth in 23 CFR 450.324.
Eastern Shore MPO
The ESMPO May 2021 Draft Amendment to the 2045 LRTP claims that truck traffic on US 90 Causeway will be “slightly increased” as a result of the proposed truck-only toll Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project. This claim is contradicted by the Mobile MPO Draft Amendment to the 2045 LRTP, which explains that the proposed truck toll on the Bayway will cause a significant shift in the number of trucks avoiding the toll that “will put a strain on the capacity of I-65, the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, and the US 90 Causeway.” In addition to this contradiction, there are glaring omissions in the ESMPO Draft Amendment that fail to provide any study or validate any data on the impacts the proposed truck toll would have on the traveling public, traffic distribution, and whether it will generate enough revenue to pay back $300 million in loans for the project. There is no analysis of the impacts of increased truck diesel pollution on air quality and public health in Africatown and other communities near the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge and Causeway. Diesel pollution includes PM 2.5 and about 40 cancer-causing chemicals that are scientifically known to damage human health. The ESMPO Draft Amendment also shows that the project is the only listed in the LRTP with “N/A” under the categories of “Total Project Evaluation Score” and “Project Evaluation.” Without these evaluations, it is curious how this project is ranked as “High” priority in the ESMPO Draft Amendment. The Draft Amendment fails to meet the federal protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, DOT environmental justice policies, and the requirements for LRTPs set forth in 23 CFR 450.324
• Toxic air pollution
• Health and safety risks
• Limited access to historic sites
• Environmental racism
considering a new version of the 2019 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project. This version has three phases
that begin with the construction of a truck-only toll bridge. Both the Mobile and Eastern Shore MPOs must first
hear from the public before making a decision. Here’s our concerns with the proposed truck-only toll bridge.
Major truck traffic on Africatown Blvd.
instead, drive on the free Africatown-Cochran Bridge. This would cause major truck traffic on Africatown Blvd.
The official plan by the Mobile MPO states the following: “A shift in external truck volumes from the Bayway to
the Causeway can be expected due to a toll. . . . An obvious conclusion can be made that a truck toll on
Interstate 10 with an un-tolled option on US90 will put a strain on the capacity of I-65, the Cochrane-Africatown
Bridge, and the US 90 Causeway.” (Mobile MPO, Draft Amendment to the 2045 Long Range Transportation, p. 13).
penetrate deep into the lungs, leading to the development of asthma in children and increased risk of
premature death from heart and lung diseases. They are also likely to cause harm to the nervous system, such as
cognitive effects. Diesel exhaust also contains about 40 toxins that are scientifically known to cause cancer.
would be exposed to additional toxic air pollution from trucks that can damage their health. More trucks
traveling at speeds of 65 mph or greater would risk the safety of Africatown residents, particularly children,
when walking, driving or biking along and across Africatown Blvd.
hindered by increased truck traffic. The Mobile MPO concluded that the truck traffic would “strain” the route
that goes through Africatown, meaning that truck traffic jams would occur frequently. The truck traffic would
limit access to these historic sites for residents and tourists.
from industrial facilities. The plan for the Mobile River Bridge Project would worsen environmental racism in
Africatown by increasing truck diesel pollution, creating more health and safety risks, and limiting access to
historic sites in the community. By ignoring these racial disparities in the plan for the Mobile River Bridge
Project, the Mobile MPO fails to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and environmental justice policies
that prohibit the use of federal transportation dollars on projects that result in racial discrimination.