Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exurban Opponents To SEWRPC Speak Out: Guest Post

SEWRPC-blessed highway expansion in Waukesha and Washington Counties against the wishes of rural and small town residents has sparked the creation of The Highway J Citizens Group.
It offers its views below:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

On Wednesday, October 22, 2008 (between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM), the Federal Highway Administration will be holding a public hearing at the Milwaukee County Downtown Transit Center in the Harbor Lights Room (909 East Michigan Street, Milwaukee, WI) to receive citizen input concerning the recertification of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). Please join us there to speak out in strong opposition to the recertification of SEWRPC. For your convenience, I have attached a PDF file with some detailed information about this public hearing to this e-mail.

For the past nine years, SEWRPC has been nothing more than "an unresponsive, taxpayer-funded, rubber stamp" for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the roadbuilding lobby in this region of our state. THAT IS NOT THE INTENDED PURPOSE OF SEWRPC!

40 years ago when SEWRPC was organized, its stated mission was to create a reasonable balance between the transportation, land use, environmental, social, economic and other interests in Southeastern Wisconsin so that our communities could be well-planned and provide a high quality of life for this area's residents. All of these interests were to have "a place at the table" during this planning process. However, that is not what is happening here.

During the past nine years, many HJCG members and other like-minded, concerned citizens from both Waukesha and Washington Counties have attended SEWRPC meetings and hearings to speak out against unnecessary, fiscally-irresponsible and environmentally-damaging road expansion plans (including the Highway 164 four-lane expansion, the Pioneer Road-Waterford Road-County Highway E expansion, the Lannon Road expansion and many other related projects) only to have their thoughtful comments "fall upon deaf ears" and ignored.

For example, in 2006, many of our members attended SEWRPC's 2035 Regional Transportation Plan public hearings in Washington County to speak out against these road expansion projects and offer more reasonable alternatives. GUESS WHAT -- Even though 100% of the people who spoke at that meeting were vehemently opposed to SEWRPC's roadbuilding plans, this unresponsive agency refused to eliminate or modify those plans. Also, earlier this year, concerned citizens participated in the Washington County Smart Growth Plan public meetings and raised concerns about several road expansion projects as well as the unresolved groundwater contamination problems in the Ackerville area -- only to have the SEWRPC representative at those meetings summarily dismiss or minimize these valid community concerns.

By caving-in and catering to the WisDOT and their roadbuilding allies at the great expense of our precious environmental resources (air, water and land), our neighborhoods, and our health and public safety, SEWRPC has effectively "abandoned its original mission" and, thus deserves to be immediately decertified as a taxpayer-funded, regional planning agency. If SEWRPC is decertified, then it will no longer be able to tell the WisDOT which highway projects need to be built or expanded in Southeastern Wisconsin (which includes Waukesha and Washington Counties). Decertification of SEWRPC would give the people greater control and more influence over the roadbuilding decision-making process and ultimately lead to implementation of more reasonable alternatives, better protection of the environment, and greater preservation of our local communities.

Please join us at this very important public hearing and "make your voices heard" on this matter of great concern to all of us. If you are unable to attend, then you can submit your written comments before November 8, 2008 to the Federal Highway Administration at: Federal Highway Administration, Attn: Planning Certification Review, 525 Junction Road, Suite 8000, Madison, WI 53717, FAX: (608)-829-7526, E-Mail: wisconsin.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov.

Thank you for your sincere concern for our homes, families, communities, and the environment. We hope to see you on Wednesday, October 22nd at the Milwaukee County Downtown Transit Center (between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM) to vigorously oppose the recertification of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC).


Jeff Gonyo,
P.O. Box 152, Hubertus, WI 53033
Phone: (262)-644-8334
E-Mail: jmgonyo164@core.com
Website: www.hwyjcitizensgroup.org

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