Conspiracy theories thrive on the Web like mosquitoes in a swamp. But the claim that the state Department of Transportation’s Gateway 1 project is linked to a United Nations initiative doesn’t even deserve to have the word theory associated with it. Mainstream news organizations have wisely downplayed the story, but it bears scrutiny, especially when the state initiative in question is critical to Maine’s future.
The claims that Gateway 1 is the opening salvo in the U.N.’s Agenda 21 initiative have been reported by the MaineWebNews site, which seems to be operated by Jarrod LeBlanc. In a 14-minute video, Mr. LeBlanc suggests how Gateway 1 will help a one-world government move people out of their homes in the midcoast U.S. Route 1 corridor and resettle them in high-density population pockets.
What is troubling about this report is that the conspiracy theorists have been moved to accuse members of a volunteer citizen committee of being dupes. Though it is their right to make such accusations, in doing so they have breached the line between reason and fantasy.
Gateway 1 was launched by DOT several years ago as a comprehensive planning effort for and by the towns from Brunswick to Prospect, through which U.S. Route 1 passes. In participating towns, the local governing board agreed to endorse the planning effort and local elected officials selected the members of the steering committee.
The need for regional land-use planning on the Route 1 corridor is obvious to anyone living or working in the midcoast. One community fights passionately against big-box development and the neighboring town courts it. One downtown is bypassed by Route 1 and in the next it doubles as Main Street. One town builds a new school outside of town and the next is working to keep community institutions and neighborhoods close together. Though Mainers are loath to do so, the Gateway 1 project is succeeding in getting the residents of one town to consider the effect their planning decisions have on the residents of surrounding towns.
Many see order and fiscal prudence in such planning. After all, when residential and commercial development are allowed to sprawl away from services, it costs taxpayers money. And good planning can lead to economic development. But Mr. LeBlanc sees global conspiracy.
Because Gateway 1’s plan uses the phrase “a new world” and “the word ‘world’ appears over and over and over again,” Mr. LeBlanc leapfrogs to a sinister new world order where the U.S. loses its sovereignty. The transformation is abetted by a cabal of bankers, “the Rothchild-Rockefeller-dominated press,” the U.N.’s Agenda 21 for sustainable development and, of course, Gateway 1.
Such thinking inspired one man to tell the Gateway 1 steering committee at its recent meeting in Rockland that despite the “facade” of “laudable objectives,” the committee was “implementing rather radical, unpopular, socialist, central-planning directives …”
DOT did not launch Gateway 1 without an agenda; it wants better local land-use planning, so costly bypasses, turning lanes and widening can be avoided. But that agenda surely is not ushering in a one-world government.