Monday, November 26, 2007

Merge Rail, Highway Spending on I-94 From Milwaukee-To-Chicago

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman has introduced a resolution calling on the state to modestly pare back its spending (a projected $1.9 billion) on added lanes to I-94 between Milwaukee and the Illinois line and merge the spending with the commuter rail plan now stalled.

Great idea. Logical. Fiscally responsible. Only takes about 12% of the $1.9 billion for rail. Mindful of rising gas prices and the effect of tailpipe emissions on the environment.

The resolution should pass, forcing the state to more seriously re-think its transportation planning.

If Gov. Jim Doyle is serious about cutting greenhouse emissions in combination with other Great Lakes and Midwestern Governors and Canadian premiers, what better place to start than committing to commuter rail linking Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha, with connections to Chicago to the south, and perhaps Madison to the west.

The time for this shift is now.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Umm, no thank you?

How about if we do something truly innovative and productive and put the money into the road itself so it can last.

Face it... the road will provide transportation to an exponentially higher number of users than the train ever will.

It may not give you the warm fuzzies, but it makes far more sense to put the money where the riders will be.

James Rowen said...

To Anon: I agree: putting the money into the road itself so it can last is a good goal.

The Bauman proposal puts $1.7 billion towards rebuilding the road. $200 million to the commuter train, which will serve as mitigation while road is rebuilt over four years, too.

Providing a choice, which is the work of good government, don't you think?

Dave said...

anon> Face it, the one thing we know for sure will result from expanding the freeway will be. Longer commute times. Yup history has shown this, over and over again (note Robert Moses)... But hey if you want a longer commute time, you can have it for $1.9 Billion.

Joe Klein said...

The point of a mixed rail/highway plan is that the KRM and Hiawatha route can bleed of the traffic that would be in the additional lanes.

Rail has shown itself to be a better investment than highway lanes. Below is an example of a recent rail project in Charlotte, a city ranked as far more conservative than Milwaukee, Racine or Kenosha.

http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_cha_2007-11a.htm

Statistically, the investment in the rail road will far outlast the concrete road. As you may have noticed, you don't need to rip up a rail road every 50 years to rebuild it. Also, a rail road can carry far more passenger traffic than a lane of highway.

Typical capacity of a freeway lane is about 2,000 vehicles per hour. A two-lane section freeway segment can accommodate a total of 4,000 vehicles per hour, whereas the three-lane section can handle up to 6,000 vehicles per hour.

http://www.sciam.com/earth-and-environment/article/id/why-do-traffic-jams-somet

Typically cars average less than 1.5 passengers.

with upgrades of the KRM route and the Hiawatha route can carry far more capacity than the additional I-94 lanes.

link below is a Chinese rail project that has a capacity of 100,000 per hour.

http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/west_rail/

Dave said...

Yea I was actually down in Charlotte and spoke to the drivers of their new light rail system, they were concerned that the train is too quiet! It was amazingly quiet. Additionally we drove the line and you could see TOD going up already! If ypou're interested here are some pictures.
LYNX Blue Line - Charlotte, NC