State and local transportation officials deliberately and erroneously claimed that a proposed $9 million downtown Albany transportation facility was not on property severely prone to flooding, public records show.
Based on city and state officials’ information, the FTA found “no adverse impacts to or involvement with any 100-year floodplains or floodways would occur as a result of the proposed project,” records show.
Indeed, the site of the proposed transportation facility at Roosevelt and Flint avenues is in the 100-flood plain, records show.
City Manager Alfred Lott and most of the city’s elected officials refuse to answer public inquiries or apologize for their transgressions in advancing the project, which has been blocked due to the city and state providing bogus information to the federal government. Records show that city and state officials conspired to inaccurately present a flawed environmental assessment, incomplete historical-preservation data, and false public-participation information to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transportation Administration.
The FTA’s withdrawal of funding for the $9 million bus transfer and “multimodal” transportation facility occurred because of an extensively researched Sept. 15 complaint filed by adjacent landowner John Sherman, the great-great grandson of Albany founder Nelson Tift. Sherman says he hasn’t gotten a response from his complaint, but he and City Commissioner Roger Marietta say that city, state and federal officials are working without further public input to proceed with the project. Sherman owns properties at 319-327 N. Washington St.
Buoyed by the prospect of federal aid, Albany officials have planned a new $2.3 million bus station or the renovation of the existing West Oglethorpe Boulevard bus station for nearly a decade. In addition to being mum on the bogus information provided to the federal government, Lott refuses to explain how the project got a massive shot in the arm in July when the Georgia Department of Transportation announced that it had secured $9 million in federal stimulus funding for what would be the largest multimodal transportation center in the state.
Marietta, though, said he has been privately briefed on the project’s challenges.
“The change in the project price came when the second phase was unexpectedly funded,” he said.
With information from the city’s two assistant managers, Marietta erroneously said that “the environmental assessment did not consider the 1994 flood because it was a 500-year flood and 500-year floods do not have to be considered.” Also with erroneous information from the assistant managers, Marietta said that public comments received regarding the project was received “after the public comment period concluded.”