Monday, March 23, 2009

Stimulus Stimulating Sprawl: Controls, Vigilance Required

Texas wants to spend big stimulus dollars on a new sprawl-serving toll road: Big surprise. Texas has giant toll road plans on the books, so stimulus funding offers a cheaper way to get them built.

So far, Wisconsin's transportation stimuls planning is a mixed bag. $97 million went out the door early to push along the I-94 north/south leg expansion and rebuilding from Milwaukee to Illinois, but Gov. Doyle is also pledging a major effort to launch high-speed rail in the state.

So far, no toll roads.

But I have yet to see any evidence that stimulus transportation spending in SE Wisconsin, where the state's low-income residents are concentrated, is targeted to aid low-income employment or transportation needs - - purportedly a stimulus priority.

We also have to make sure SEWEPC does not direct stimulus funds it controls to the Pabst Farms mall 'interchange to nowhere,' or other sprawl-serving road expansions in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties.

The ACLU of Wisconsin has raised some of these issues.

More later.


Anonymous said...

The Pabst Farms interchange is in the Transportation Improvement Plan that SEWRPC just finished accepting comments on.

James Rowen said...

I know. We need to organize and block it, and to make sure that stimulus funds aren't used at the state level to end-run things, or backfill a state appropriation needing approval in Madison.

The River Otter said...

I was out by Pabst Farms a couple weeks ago and it looked a lot like Northridge- lots of abandoned buildings, concrete, parking lots with weeds growing up in them...weird. Sprawl starts to look like ghetto pretty quickly. Northridge was farmland not that long ago, either.