Newman, Lutovsky will debate I-26 options

Two ardent supporters of two very different plans for the controversial I-26 connector, Asheville City Council member Brownie Newman and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Rick Lutovsky, will make their cases on Wednesday at an Asheville Leadership Forum luncheon.

Lutovksy and the chamber have announced their support for the plan known as Alternative 3, which has been controversial because it would demolish about 24 homes in the predominantly African-American Burton Street area. Earlier this month, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners narrowly endorsed this alternative.

Lutovsky has touted faster travel times, a lesser impact on the Montford neighborhood and lower construction costs as some of the chamber’s reasons for supporting Alternative 3.

Newman, along with the overwhelming majority of City Council, support Alternative 4b, a plan developed by the Asheville Design Center that aims to disrupt less land and fewer local residents. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has estimated that 4b would have a higher cost, something the ADC contests, asserting that money saved on land acquisition — and kept on the tax rolls — would outweigh increased construction costs.

The DOT will decide on an alternative this summer.

The event begins at 11:45 a.m. at the Buncombe County Board of Education. Admission is $16 for the general public, $14 for forum members.

— David Forbes, staff writer


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

7 thoughts on “Newman, Lutovsky will debate I-26 options

  1. Jason Sandford

    The debate will continue Wednesday night on local radio station WCQS FM 88.1.

    During the 6 p.m. show “Conversations,” hosted by news director David Hurand, Lutovsky will take on Joe Minicozzi of the Asheville Design Center, the local group that developed alt. 4 b.

  2. Austin

    I’m starting to hear a lot about how chamber members weren’t even let in on the decision or asked for input with regards to I-26. It appears they will be losing some members over this. Lutovsky will sound foolish because his arguments are transparent and he doesn’t have the support of the community. We will force the DOT to do the right thing by building a design that unifies our city and that encourages walking and cycling.

  3. Gordon Smith

    Can the public attend for free if they don’t eat lunch there?

  4. Bert

    Thank God Brownie Newman remembers he’s a Democrat, unlike some of our party leaders in this county. I can’t stand people that talk a smooth progressive line, but then pocket money from the business interest over the good of the community.

  5. older than dirt

    The DOT will build what the DOT wants to build. I would not be holding my breathe for 4b

  6. older than dirt

    Gorden Smith, I rarely agree with your viewpoints, but kudos to a great comeback comment

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.