It contended that highway projects that relate "in any fashion" to an existing highway should have been exempted from ALCAB review.
ALCAB review plays an important role, Farm Bureau said.
The required ALCAB review, said Farm Bureau, "prevents proponents of projects -- such as PennDOT in the Exit 7 project -- from being the judge and jury of their own projections and estimates on the effects of the project on local agriculture.
PennDOT's interpretation of the `existing highway' exception would have allowed it to avoid responsibility for ALCAB review and approval on virtually every highway project that proposed to condemn farmland," said John Bell, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's Governmental Affairs Counsel.
In its amicus curiae brief, Farm Bureau argued that the General Assembly, in enacting the 1979 law which established ALCAB, intended the "existing highway" exemption to apply only to projects such as road widening, taking out curves or reconstructing an existing road.
Relocation of highways and the addition of an interchange involving new ramps and connector roads are clearly outside the scope of the exception [to ALCAB review], and PennDOT must seek ALCAB approval before it can file a declaration of taking.
PennDOT's refusal to seek ALCAB
review represents a major attack on the integrity of the ag security area process," said John Bell, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's Governmental Affairs Counsel, who submitted the amicus curiae brief.