Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mequon Finds Demographics Dismissed At WisDOT

Scott Walker's Department of Transportation seems to have as much use for demographics as did the Romney campaign.

Where Mequon projects little expansion and less driving, WisDOT sees added lanes, bigger medians, broader shoulders and round-about construction along a five-mile stretch of Mequon Rd. (Highway 167), the small Ozaukee County community north of Milwaukee is told.

Details, here, where officials like Mequon Mayor Curt Gielow sums it up:

"When (traffic volume) has been flat for the last 26 years, why would it take off?" Gielow said. "We are a non-growing, aging community, and yet you suggest we need to accommodate for much more traffic. It doesn't compute to me...."
Several aldermen pointed out that the [DOT] study fails to take into account Mequon's demographics, which point to a reduction in traffic over time as residents age and decreased kindergarten enrollment results in fewer young people on the road.


BigWheel said...

This snippet pretty much undermines the premise of this post:
Shaffer insisted the construction of an expanded highway is dependent on observable increases in traffic, despite the council's repeatedly voiced suspicions of a heavy-handed DOT.

I'm all for calling WISDOT to the carpet for driving unnecessary expansion of highways, but this story doesn't meet the standard.

James Rowen said...

What you never get in these WisDOT plans is a truly independent analysis of the need.

BigWheel said...

I've been dogging WISDOT officials recently for their data showing the economic benefit to the state of major highway projects and they repeatedly tell me they do not perform an in-depth analysis. The usual refrain I get is that they perform all the required analysis per:

and that they have legislative oversight. Of course, legislators have this nasty habit of handing out highway projects as pork, a fact that even Republicans acknowledge. I think the key here is to push for a more rigorous evaluation of the economic benefits of state highway projects, raise the minimum statutory threshold for green lighting a project, and strengthen the role of the TPC (as Scott Fitzgerald has suggested) in reviewing the need of projects.

If the citizens of this state are going to be asked to pay more for highways, the least the state can do is tighten up on the process.