Missed opportunities, lost options, traffic congestion guaranteed by the government - - and none of this had to happen:
Commuters and unsuspecting motorists idling away their $4 gas in the eastbound I-94 repaving mess from 70th St. past Miller Miller Park, and who may not know that congestion will sprawl in all directions for miles when six years and $1.7 billion worth of Zoo Interchange 'improvements' begin next year...
...might review this history and these lines from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 31, 1997 about a light rail line planned for the I-94 corridor that was killed by anti-city Waukesha pols and righty talk radio:
Light rail: A $330 million light rail system that could run from the Third Ward to the Milwaukee County Zoo, linking the Summerfest grounds at Maier Festival Park, the zoo, the new Wisconsin Center and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. A spur would serve the new Miller Park during Milwaukee Brewers games and other events....Congestion mitigation, as well as an alternative for east-west travelers through the corridor?
Such a system would be operating by 2006...
This line from another Journal Sentinel story, exactly one year later on Saturday, January 31, 1998, answers the question:
At Friday's [Waukesha Area] Chamber of Commerce gathering, [then-Town of Brookfield GOP State Representative and Assembly Speaker Scott] Jensen pounded his fist on a table and said that as far as he was concerned, light rail is "dead, dead, dead."The whole story was told in 2008, the last time gas was in the $4 range, here:
A starter light rail system was recommended for Milwaukee County in a major state-funded regional transportation study in the 1990s that had considerable public and private sector support.
But conservative AM talk radio and opposition in Waukesha County blocked further study of light rail for Milwaukee, even though $241 million in federal funds was set aside specifically for transit improvements in Milwaukee County.
Had plans unfolded on schedule, the starter light rail, with an estimated 21,000 riders on weekdays, would have opened in 2006 and run about 10 miles from the Third Ward to Summerfest, downtown, Miller Park, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County Grounds.
Talk about a missed opportunity. It would have provided Milwaukeeans with a spiffy transit option in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline, with higher eventual prices predicted.