Tuesday, May 12, 2009

$50+ Million For New Waukesha By-Pass: The Road To Sprawlville, Chapter XXVII

Folks living south of the City of Waukesha will finally get their easier north route to I-94.

Thank goodness!

Everyone should have the quickest access to the nearest Interstate, don't you think?

Even in an era of less driving and declining subdivision demand, right?

And wouldn't you know that there's one of those pesky wetlands in the way.

Damn you, panfish!

Planners apparently have a way around the problem, if need be: they can redesign the bypass in a configuration that will approximate the route taken by Oliver Stone's magic bullet in his film "JFK," turning the bypass into something resembling a "Z."

But there shall be a bypass, in part because your town or village or city hasn't really been anointed by the state transportation department until it has provided you, at taxpayer expense, with a bypass.

Heck, even Mineral Point has one - - between the booming metropoli of Dickeyville and Dodgeville, to the tune of $70 million.

You don't see this kind of persistence, or creative routing, when it comes to transit connections in Waukesha County. And elsewhere in the state

When obstacles to transit present themselves, the response is, "well, that's the way it goes."

Or: "how on earth would we pay for that?," a question that is never a problem for the DOT.

All told, for the bypass, we're looking at a boatload of local and state tax expenditures - - and the generous DOT will cough up 75% of the tab - - for new pavement to and through and bypassing Sprawlville.

Credit Waukesha County Exec Dan Vrakas for picking pockets statewide for the project. Earlier proposals had the locals paying more, and Vrakas said "no," until the state, with money from the rest of us said, rolled over.

And all this is taking place in the very heart of Sprawlville, an area known for it anti-government, anti-tax-and-spend attitudes, but also where diverted Lake Michigan water could fuel more development.

In essense, the bypass is a key element in the Waukesha County long-range expansion plan.

Another is Lake Michigan water delivered into and outside the City of Waukesha's current water utility service territory, giving developers more reason to see annexation or hook-ups.

Another piece of the puzzle is the widening of I-93 through the count between the Zoo Interchange to the east and the Jefferson county to the west.

Already on the books, thanks to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

All in all, more than a billion dollars of induced sprawl, with public dollars.


Anonymous said...

Additional roads ease congestion associated with frequent stopping/starting. Additional roads built as a bypass allow vehicles to travel faster. Accordingly, vehicle usage will be more efficient and ultimately create less air pollution. Sounds like a safe and viable solution.

James Rowen said...

Sounds like taxpayer-financed induced traffic to me. Within a short period of its opening, demand will begin for an expansion. Count on it.

William said...

Good old hypocritical Republisha County. Conveniently anti government spending, until it happens to help them.

Dave Reid said...

@Anon No Bypasses aren't really about congestion relief. They are about growth. Soon enough the new road will be dotted with gas stations, fast food joints, and subdivisions, not to mention the new traffic to go with it.

Makes you wonder why Waukesha needs more water...

Joseph Thomas Klein said...

Perhaps it is the water. The water has radium, which when ingested exposes tissues to ionizing radiation.

A link between cognitive functions and low levels of ionizing radiation has been shown.


Perhaps the radiological damage to the cerebellum from the radium laced water prevents the people who where born in Waukesha County from understanding the relationship between highway building, sprawl, and increased pollution.

Diminished logical reasoning could explain a lot ... and I was foolishly thinking the problem with failing to extrapolate consequences was purely out of ideological stubborness.

James Rowen said...

It's politics, Joe.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Democratic president, Democratic Congress, Democratic governor and Democratic legislature with a Democratic mayor in Waukesha and yet "It's the Republicans!"

Maybe reports of the party's demise are premature if they have this much power over Democratic politicians.

Of course, we should remember that, as Russ Feingold said in one listening session here, that Waukesha county regularly gives him the third most votes of all Wisconsin counties.