A U.S. Court of Appeals agreed today to consider overturning an Alexanderia judge's decision to permit the long-delayed construction of Interstate Rte. 66 inside the Capital Beltway.
Acting with unusual speed, the Fourth U.S. Circuit of Appeals set a hearing for Wednesday morning after receiving a 29-page brief that challenged the actions of two U.S. Secretaries of Transportation and District Judge Oren R. Lewis in approving the controversial road.
Crew began clearing the roadway right of way yesterday moments after Lewis told a coalition of civic groups oppossed to the highway that he would stop construction only it they would post a $500,000 bond. In appeal brief filed today, the opponents said they did not have that much money and argued that "contrary to Judge Lewis' ruling . . . (they began to suffer irreparable injury as soon as construction commenced."
Damage to the state by a further delay in construction would be slight, the oppnents contend. As they had before Judge Lewis, the opponents charged that both Brock Adams, the Carter administration's transpor tation secretary, and William Coleman who held the position in the Ford administration, exceded their powers in approving the state's modified plans for a four-lane, 9.7-mile extension of the road from the beltway across Fairfax and Arlington counties to a point near the Theodore Roosevelt Bridges.
Coleman was accused of "horse trading" in brief by conditioning hie endorsement of the plan on Virginia Gov. Mills E. Godwin's promised to transfer $30 million of unused interstate highway money to the Metro subway system in Washington. "Here. . . it is evident that Interstate 66 was the price extracted by Gov. Mills E. Godwin for completion of the Metro subway system in Virginia," the brief said.
Lawyers for the state will present their arguments fot the road orally to the three-judge panel.