This is a question that every Londonderry taxpayer should be asking themselves right now. More importantly, the same question needs to be posed to the Town Council before it's too late.

As has been reported here and elsewhere in recent weeks, the state has been soliciting public comment on the proposed Exit 4A project off of Interstate 93. In short, this is a project that dates back to 1985 and has now reached an estimated $25-30 million dollar watermark. The vast majority of the construction will take place in Derry and is forecasted to start in 2010.

While supporters of this old project claim it's needed to relieve traffic on 102, revitalize Derry's downtown and improve access to some commercial and industrial land in both towns on 28, the steep price tag and who will pay for the project is a big problem folks.

There's not enough room in this column to lay out the history of Exit 4A and how we got to this point in time. Suffice to say, Londonderry's role in this project is one being driven by an old lawsuit settlement and subsequent Town Meeting vote that took place back in the 1992. To make a long story short, Londonderry put itself "on the hook" for a $5 million dollar contribution to the Exit 4A project because of decisions made 15 years ago.

The reason this is important to know, is it goes right to the heart of the question being posed. Political supporters of this project aside, from a Londonderry perspective there is no real groundswell of public support to move forward with Exit 4A. In fact, it appears to be quite the opposite. Absent the legal obligation to currently fund $5 million, a strong case could be made that a majority in Londonderry want nothing to do with this project any more.

In support of that proposition, the comments provided at the Sept. 12 public hearing from taxpayers in both towns, indicate a lack of community support for Exit 4A as well. One quote by a resident from Derry at that meeting sums it up well: "…I can't imagine that people in Londonderry are going to pay for all these improvements that really benefit Derry." Personally, I think that is accurate.

Some folks in Derry have gone a step further. The Taxpayers Alliance there has called upon the Derry Town Council to immediately stop any further spending on the impact study phase of the project, until it is determined where the rest of the funding will come from. With a current price tag of $25-30 million, that's a valid request. Like Londonderry, Derry officials have pledged a maximum $5 million contribution toward the project, albeit for different reasons as noted above.

Given the fact that Londonderry is already facing a multi-million dollar investment in 2010 for our "own roads and infrastructure," it might be appropriate for our Town Council to consider holding back on further spending for Exit 4A as well. After all, it appears that the only folks who really want the project at this point are a handful of politicians.

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