Gretchen Schuldt correctly reminds us that region that can't get its potholes filled is about to have $1.9 billion in public bucks poured into 38 miles of new lanes and 'modernization' on I-94 from Mitchell airport to the Illinois state line.
Whoopeee! Get yourself down to Illinois a few minutes faster - - assuming in winters to come that your front wheels are still in alignment and the tires are on the rims.
And another $3.7 billion in spending is planned for additional so-called 'freeway' expansion and rebuilding in and around Milwaukee County, all concocted by the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission a few years ago - - when highway usage predictions were based on gasoline costing $2.30 per gallon.
And let's not forget that that the I-94 corridor south to Illinois (like the entire seven-county highway building plan) will be concrete-only - - no transit improvements included of any kind, especially rail enhancements, even though the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter train line is ready to go.
And could minimize and mitigate the years of construction congestion that will accompany that $1.9 billion orange-barrel binge.
And didn't we learn this weekend that Milwaukee County's faltering bus system is losing riders at a quickening clip even though nationally, bus ridership is up, up, up?
How is it that we are missing these national trends: increasing bus ridership...trolley and light rail introductions...commuter rail extensions?
Could our policies and priorities be, what, lacking?
Let's see, whadda we got here?
Failing and blocked transit options.
Struggling local road services.
Budget-busting billions for more big superhighways.
And what don't we have?
A comprehensive state transportation plan and budget that integrates local road needs, transit systems, highway projects, and dare we even dream it - - land use? - - for the entire taxpaying public.
We do have a Wisconsin Transportation Department where this sort of coordinated thinking and action could take place, but the department is something of a misnomer.
It's really the old-fashioned highway department, doling out contracts to road-builders to serve some customers, but without any sense of equity or balance.
That's because transit riders don't have political action committees, contribution-bundling conduits, trade associations, independent expenditure campaign advertising budgets, a full and generous fund-raising schedule and lobbyists to knit the money and influence and transportation outputs together.
So when you blow a tire in a pothole, or find your bus line discontinued, remember that WisDOT is working on getting you that extra freeway (sic) lane south of the airport so you can drive into the Illinois toll system a few minutes faster.
And WisDOT engineers are working frantically to get final approvals for that nifty, $25 million shopping mall-only Diamond Interchange out at Pabst Farms in Western Waukesha County so shoppers can zip right up to yet another Home Depot.
But don't plan on taking a new train to either destination, or reading in your local paper that WisDOT is sending emergency funding to your town so the roads don't look and ride like they were hit with mortars.
That's because everyday local road motorists and their poor relations - - the transit riders - - haven't thrown the local legislators enough $1,000-per-foursome fundraising golf outings to get their phone calls returned.