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Letters to the editor

Your editorial accusation that Mayor Robert Cleary influenced a decision regarding a replacement for the Ironton-Russell Bridge was completely inaccurate.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Your editorial accusation that Mayor Robert Cleary influenced a decision regarding a replacement for the Ironton-Russell Bridge was completely inaccurate. As executive director of "a regional transportation agency" currently chaired by Mayor Cleary, I offer the following information.

Mayor Cleary disclosed to Kyova Interstate Planning Commission staff that he owned property within one of the alternate corridors proposed by the consultant for the Ironton-Russell Bridge. Since Kyova Interstate Planning Commission selects neither alternates nor the preferred alignments for construction projects (that is accomplished by the cognizant state in partnership with a consulting firm), the mayor’s ownership is irrelevant.

No other discussions regarding the property owned by Mayor Cleary have taken place between the mayor and any Kyova staff member, nor have any such discussions been part of any Kyova policy or committee meeting. Contrary to your suggestion, the mayor went out of his way to make certain that there was no conflict of interest – and there was none.

The commissions’ responsibility is to conduct a comprehensive transportation planning process. To that end, local elected officials, commission staff and staff from each state conduct a long-term process to advance projects to the design stage. Once a project has moved from the planning stage, the metropolitan planning organization (Kyova) no longer administers the process.

Public participation is a significant part of the planning, design and construction process and is actively sought at every stage of project development by the states and Kyova Interstate Planning Commission. Those interested in the location of future transportation facilities are encouraged to take part in public workshops and meetings to offer their opinions. The process is designed to provide the best decisions within feasible bounds.

Michele P. Craig

Executive Director, Kyova