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March 31, 2010


Lisa Adelman General Counsel Alamo Regional Mobility Authority San Antonio, Texas Dear Ms. Adelman:


Via Email

Pursuant to your request, this letter restates the key terms of settlement that Aquifer Guardians In Urban Areas and Texans United for Reform and Freedom representatives outlined to you and other Alamo Regional Mobility Authority representatives in our recent meeting.

Our goals are to avoid conflict over the recently approved US 281/Loop 1604 interchange, minimize the potential for future conflicts over the US 281 and Loop 1604 Environmental Impact Statements now underway, and minimize harm to the environment, neighbors, and commuters along the US 281 and Loop 1604 corridors. As we stated, we believe that a "Categorical Exclusion" is not legally defensible under the National Environmental Policy Act for several reasons. We do not find it plausible that a $140 million project characterized as an "interchange" that nevertheless extends over eight miles in length; will necessarily increase air, water, noise and visual pollution; will be built within established residential neighborhoods and business centers, over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, and within endangered species habitat; will significantly alter existing travel patterns; is part and parcel of the US 281 and Loop 1604 projects currently under environmental review; will cause travel delays and other harmful results during more than two years of construction; and is now admitted to add twenty acres of impervious cover, not the ten acres represented by ARMA during the public participation process, can be said to "categorically" avoid any and all significant environmental impacts. We recognize that ARMA and FHWA disagree. Our preference is that we set aside our disagreements on the Categorical Exclusion and the project it addresses, as well as our past differences, and instead embrace a new, cooperative relationship that would allow the project to proceed while committing ARMA to working with the community and to making meaningful investments in community participation and environmental protection. Our proposal is that ARMA: *Fund an environmental engineer of our choosing to work hand-in-hand with ARMA's contractor in the "design" phase of the project to design the project to minimize

Save Our Springs Alliance
(512) 477-2320 voice (512) 477-6410 fax P.O. Box 684881 • Austin, Texas 78768 221 East 9th Street, Suite 300 • Austin, Texas 78701 http://www.sosalliance.org email: sosinfoOsosalliance.org

harm to the Edwards Aquifer and to project neighbors. This work would focus on controlling water and noise pollution. Every effort would be made to resolve any design disagreements on water, noise, air, and light pollution avoidance and mitigation. ARMA would retain final decision-making authority consistent with other terms of any agreement. *Commit at least fifteen (15) percent of the total project budget to environmental mitigation. At least half of this amount would be set aside for purchase of Edwards Aquifer recharge zone/endangered species habitat mitigation land. We would be consulted in prioritizing such mitigation land purchases, which would be located within five miles of the project unless otherwise agreed. *Fund a karst expert of our choosing to be on site throughout the site-clearing and excavation of the project to assure that any voids encountered are properly surveyed and mitigated in accordance with state and federal law (and who is clearly authorized to report to AGUA and TURF on their work and observations on a regular basis). *Make a binding commitment to prohibit tolling of both the interchange ramps and US 281 for at least 25 years. *Redesign the public participation processes for the US 281 and Loop 1604 to embrace community stakeholders as true partners in the process. This would include funding for AGUA and TURF, in cooperation with other neighborhood groups and stakeholders, to develop a "community alternative" that would be one of the alternatives studied in depth in each of the 281 and 1604 EIS processes. This work would take place over the next six months, with the goal of having broad based community support for a US 281 alternative and a Loop 1604 alternative that met transportation needs while minimizing both costs and harm to the environment and neighbors. This is a fundamentally different approach from the current "stakeholder" process that is completely controlled by ARMA, with stakeholders left in the role of criticizing ARMA's work rather than participating as partners in shaping the process and at least one of the alternatives to be analyzed. In exchange for the above, AGUA and TURF would agree to: *Drop the still pending but dormant US 281 lawsuit; *Refrain from challenging the "interchange" Categorical Exclusion and construction of the interchange project with federal stimulus funds; *Give up any legal claim that the US 281 and Loop 1604 EISs are legally deficient on the grounds that the two projects are actually a single project requiring a single EIS. AGUA and TURF would not give up any other procedural or substantive claims they may have in the future to challenge the US 281 and/or Loop 1604 project in the event that ARMA or TxDOT failed to choose the community alternative(s).


We appreciate your consideration. If you have any questions, please let me know. Very best regards Bill Bunch Andrew Hawkins Attorneys for AGUA and TURF Cc: Enrique Valdivia, AGUA Terri Hall, TURF


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