The City’s approach to the Petition to remove Langley Parkway Extension Phase 3 (CIP 40) from the budget has been largely dismissive. Some city officials have questioned why people are worried when there’s no money in this year’s budget for CIP 40. Others have said concerns about Phase 3 are misplaced because Phase 3 may never be built and the City’s real interest is encouraging development of the lower section of Penacook Street. And finally, some city officials are blunt and say that Phase 3 won’t be built until the City finds the money to build it. They tell us that CIP 40 is just a placeholder and because there is no money now for building it there is no reason to object.
But NOW is the time to object. That the City is using CIP 40 as a placeholder is precisely why we should object and demand Langley Parkway be removed from the the CIP. The reason the City is using CIP 40 as a placeholder and not removing it from the budget is because the city council continues to identify the road as a priority. As long as the road remains a priority and remains in the CIP the City will move forward with construction as soon as a funding source is found. If the City did not intend to build Langley Phase 3, it would not object to removing CIP 40. Federal grants, the most likely source of funding, often require that a project be “shovel ready” at the time of application. Once the grant is awarded, building the project is a done deal. Public hearings will be held for input on the project’s specifics, not to determine whether the project should be built in the first place.
When the City does find money to build Langley Phase 3, it will be too late to complain. As one councilor described it, “keep the horse before the cart.” Phase 3 Langley is the cart. The horse is the money pulling the cart. It’s a project decades in the making that has been designated a city priority for years. Langley Parkway will be described as “shovel ready” in grant applications pursued by the city. This is the reason, and the only reason, the Parkway remains in the CIP year after year, so it can be built. When the search for money is finally successful, it will be built. The only way to prevent this from happening is to force the City to remove CIP 40 from the budget, remove it as a city council priority and end the Langley Parkway saga for good.