In June, 2005, SVN, the Virginia Trucking Association, and the Virginia Manufacturers Association wrote to several members of Congress, expressing concern over VDOT’s proposal to widen I-81. The letter expressed concern that the proposal would be “unable to receive the necessary environmental permits, as it will be unable to provide the congestion and safety relief it is expected to deliver. Targeted improvements to I-81 that do not include dedicated tolled truck lanes are the best way to manage this important corridor’s future.”
As VDOT’s plans continued, other groups added their concerns. The Southern Environmental Law Center sent a September, 2006 letter to Governor Kaine, urging the governor to revise the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to present a full picture of alternatives to widening options and the impacts of Build Alternatives.
After VDOT’s release of its Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Shenandoah County Administrator wrote to Governor Kaine, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation to express the dissatisfaction of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors with the FEIS. Some complaints include an incorrect statement that Shenandoah County endorsed widening the highway, the emphasis on widening over approaches advanced by Reasonable Solutions, and the rush to get the FEIS approved before the conclusion of the state legislature’s study of rail freight diversion.