In our last Conservation Chronicle, we wrote about the contract between the County and
WYDOT, which had been analyzed by a local international attorney with experience in contract
law. In last week’s Jackson Hole News and Guide, columnist Paul Hansen provided a more
extensive list of the issues surrounding the contract.
The column, titled: “Gag Order and Blank Check on Tribal Trails Must be Rescinded” provides an
extensive list of the issues linked to the contract that was approved by a 4-1 vote of the Teton
County Commissioners. You can read the Paul Hansen’s column here (note, opening this link requires a subscription).
In his column, Paul cites that when the County Commissioners submitted a solution for Highway
89 going south out of town that utilized 3 lanes and turning lanes, reflecting the community’s
input, WYDOT didn’t even consider it and built the 5-lane monster we have now. Under the
new contract, the BCC can’t even weigh in publicly without written permission from WYDOT.
The expectations for sensitivity to community input provided to our elected officials having an
impact on the outcome are dubious if they are under a gag order.
The contract also stipulates that Teton County must assume legal and financial responsibility for
land condemnation of private lands along the TTC route. We can anticipate long, expensive
litigation for expensive private lands, including conservation easement lands which are
exceedingly hard to condemn, according to some experts.
Other elements of the contract will be outlined in future segments of the Conservation
Chronicles. Our charge is to be the conservation community’s source for transportation