Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bruce Murphy Weighs In On The SEWRPC Controversies

Milwaukee Magazine's editor Bruce Murphy has posted an item about governance and policy controversies surrounding the seven-county regional planning commission, SEWRPC.

It's a welcome item.

We're all finally getting to the bottom of what SEWRPC does, what it doesn't do, and most importantly, why it is what it is.

Murphy offers an interesting new line of analysis - - that there's a better chance of change eventually sweeping SEWRPC when Waukesha County residents get tired of subsidizing the smaller SEWRPC counties (right now, Milwaukee County pays the largest share of the SEWRPC operating budget, Waukesha County the second) that pay chickenfeed to the agency, but get the same three seats on the commission board.

And get access to SEWRPC data and activities essentially at a discount, with the freight being paid by the more populous counties - - Milwaukee and Waukesha.

The truth is that every SEWRPC function could be jobbed out to an existing municipal agency in the seven-county region: In Dane County, the regional planning commission gets its transportation planning from the City of Madison, so there are administrative savings and less duplication of effort.

If SEWRPC were genuinely independent, you could argue that there were reasons for maintaining an uberagency to take charge of dicey issues and offer solutions that were both fair and challenging.

But as Murphy points out, SEWRPC was laid out to represent land, not populations, and that has led to action on its plans for highway expansion, not urban transit, or housing or initiatives that have the City of Milwaukee as the highest priority.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA) is holding its Seventh Annual Community Development Summit, "Transportation and Jobs, The Case For Regional Cooperation, Getting There From Here," Wednesday, June 25, 2008, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at The Italian Community Center, Milwaukee. (FREE PARKING.)

The registration fee is $40. per person and includes materials and meals.

For registration forms or more information, visit www.ueda.org, or call (414) 562-9906.