Monday, November 19, 2007

Estimated Cost of I-94 Expansion From Milwaukee To Illinois Has Doubled Since 2003

Jaws dropped and taxpayers hid their wallets last week when the Wisconsin Department of Transportation pegged the cost of adding a lane and other 'improvements' on I-94 between Mitchell airport and the Illinois border at $1.9 billion.

Our DOT is famous for touting major highway projects as "on time and under budget," but what about "in line with estimates, and reality?"

Not this baby: its projected cost was $942 million in 2003 - - courtesy of the regional planning commission, where the regional freeway expansion and reconstruction scheme was hatched.

Without a financing recommendation.

Now don't get me wrong: $942 million of the public's money isn't chickenfeed, but it is slightly less than half last week's $1.9 billion blockbuster.

Anyone think when all is said and done that $1.9 billion will be final tab? (Gretchen Schuldt tells us why there's no way, here.)

So let me suggest a new slogan for the DOT, where former secretary Chuck Thompson once famously and honestly said the agency's mission was "to let contracts."

The inspiration is WisDOT's $1.9 billion bottom-line to redo one stretch of I-94:

"In The Ground...At Twice The Price!"

1 comment:

Gretchen Schuldt said...

And let's not forgot that SEWRPC thought a lot more homes would be purchased and destroyed in the project area than WisDOT now says is necessary. So the project now is way more expensive and yet doesn't require as much work. In essence, then, we are paying more for less. Sounds like the WisDOT way to me...