Thursday, May 29, 2008

Driving Is Down Nationally, And In Wisconsin; Is Highway Expansion Justified?

I've raised questions repeatedly on this blog about the blind devotion to highway building in Wisconsin and our region - - as recently as yesterday - - even though, as sharped-eyed reader Joe Klein notes, current federal transportation data show that driving is going down.

Spiking gasoline prices and other inflationary pressures will have that result, and no one is predicting a return to the era of cheap gasoline.

Isn't this another reason right now to slow down and re-think the $1.9 billion I-94 rebuilding and widening project between Milwaukee and Illinois that regional planners dreamed up when gasoline cost $2.30-a-gallon, and which state highway officials are determined to launch this year - - deliberately leaving out a commuter rail line - - through 2016?


Dave said...

That would just make to much sense. Maybe re-evaluate a project when key numbers used to estimate are almost 100% off! But not WisDOT they appear not to realize that well things have changed.

James Rowen said...

I think WisDOT knows full well but has leadership and culture completely locked into, as former Secretary Thompson said years ago, to "let contracts."