'Bypass 29 Now' Group Presents VDOT Air Quality Report - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

'Bypass 29 Now' Group Presents VDOT Air Quality Report

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A conversation about the Route 29 bypass got people fired up in Charlottesville Thursday.  A new group, ‘Bypass 29 Now’, set up a news conference to present the final air quality report from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

It wasn't just the media asking questions, groups against the Route 29 bypass showed up to ask questions of their own. 

Paul Wright, the president of Bypass 29 Now, is the former chairman of the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board. He says when he was on the review board he didn't speak out about the bypass, but now that he doesn't work for the county he's doing just that.

Wright says according to the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, air quality is good in Charlottesville.

"The studies by VDOT very clearly show that actually if the bypass is built it will have better air quality then it does today," said Wright. 

Wright planned to take questions from media, but anti-29 bypass groups showed up with a few of their own. Wright claims people against the bypass are using scare tactics, saying one example is their argument the bypass will cause pollution.

"The opposition is incredibly well funded and basically this is the richest people in Albemarle County," said Wright. 

John Cruickshank of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club says he is concerned about the bypass being so close to area schools.

"I don't think we should be impairing the quality of the air that they're going to be breathing for that period of time," Said Cruickshank. 

Public opinion of the bypass is also a debatable point. George Larry of the Charlottesville Albemarle Transportation Coalition says a public opinion poll that found more people favor the bypass was sponsored by a group that charges money to ask questions.

"We all know it all depends how you ask the question what kind of an answer you get," Larry stated.

Wright says the press conference was a way to shut down exaggerated claims and give the public and more realistic view of the bypass.

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