Highway 49 interchange costly to taxpayers | TheUnion.com

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Highway 49 interchange costly to taxpayers

The Union recently reported that the new Highway 49 interchange proposed one mile south of the McCourtney interchange will cost approximately $55 million.

This is an interchange proposed by the developers of the proposed developments known as Northstar and South Hill. These two projects are seeking our approval for as many as 2,417 residential units. This is at least 300 percent more than the current General Plan would allow for.

Since the developer pays none or a nominal amount for this freeway interchange, the rest of us taxpayers get to foot the bill. If we as taxpayers in western Nevada County were paying for this interchange directly, it would cost each of us about $1,000 so that two developers could make a tidy profit and overburden our surface streets, schools, police protection and social services. Most people moving into these houses will need jobs, for which at least half will have to commute outside the county, creating more traffic and air pollution (Nevada County has the 11th worst ozone pollution in the entire country). These developments shouldn’t be approved, and if they are, the developer should pay Caltrans $22,755.48 per dwelling, which is the pro rata cost to build the exchange. What’s wrong with this plan?

Kent Gallagher

Grass Valley