Some Earmark Predictions For Wisconsin: Go For The Money; Just Change The Language
Republicans in the Congress will ban earmarks.
Scott Walker and other Republicans will hail each other's political courage and fiscal responsibility.
Then they will vigorously pursue earmarks for the following, cash-poor projects and plans - - without contradiction - - because Scott Walker has been a supporter of multiple major projects requiring billions in new federal and state dollars - - and the Republicans will simply call the earmarks necessary to keep these projects alive something other than earmarks, like infrastructure investments, or infrastructure revenue enhancements or state-federal partnership revenue investment infrastructure enhancements, or something:
* Completing the I-94 N/S reconstruction and widening between Milwaukee and Illinois. There's more than a billion dollars left there, I reckon. Scott Walker is in favor of the expansion.
* Beginning the reconstruction and widening of the Zoo Interchange. That's $2+ billion needed, right there. Scott Walker has long been a supporter of the entire $6.5 billion SE freeway expansion and reconstruction plan; more work is on the longer-term horizon into Ozaukee, Waukesha, Milwaukee and Walworth Counties.
This is from the official record of the final SEWRPC Southeast Freeway Advisory Committee meeting on April 3, 2003 (a meeting I attended) which led to a state commitment to spend $6.5 billion to reconstruct and widen the freeway system:
"Chairman Drew asked if there were any additional comments or questions on the amendment put forth by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. White, to include the provision of additional capacity on 127 miles of the regional freeway system. Mr. Dwyer suggested a roll call vote. Mr. Walker’s motion to amend the final plan to include the provision of additional capacity on 127 miles of the regional freeway system, seconded by Mr. White, passed on a vote of 14 ayes to 9 nays, with Messrs. Buestrin, Cook, Drew, Dwyer, Finley, Melvin, Miller, Norem, Sheehy, Speaker, Walker, White, Wirth, and Ms. Jacobson voting in favor of the amendment. Messrs. Fafard, Holloway, Kehl, Leonard, Millonzi, Norquist, Pratt and Ms. Estness and Ms. McCutcheon voted against the amendment. Mr. Matzke abstained from the vote."* Beginning the planning for and reconstruction/widening of I-39/90 between the Wisconsin Dells and Illinois. Another billion, without a budget - - but already endorsed by Walker.
* Rebuilding the Hoan Bridge - - $240 million. Scott Walker wants the bridge replaced, as is.
* Financing the City of Waukesha's Lake Michigan water intake pipeline and return flow pipes and infrastructure, should Waukesha's diversion application receive a favorable review from the Department of Natural Resources.
Scott Walker supports the Waukesha diversion application and its return flow plan via Underwood Creek and the Menomonee River.
The project right now calls for $164 million, an early estimate, and Waukesha is hoping to get a piece of a $100 million, Cong. Jim Sensenbrenner(R) - supported federal package to transfer much of the cost from water rate-payers to federal taxpayers.
* The basic, garden-variety, lobbyist-Member of Congress-arranged federal contracting with state businesses.
* Making up for the $100-135 million in high-speed rail funding Walker is forfeiting - - which will reduce available federal funds for Wisconsin.
All in all, the state is in red-ink Catch-22, made worse by Walker's irrational and self-sabotaging blockade of high-speed rail and his huge appetite for highway-building.
So we're not done with earmarks. Just with today's definition.
Sounds a little like promoting abstinence only education by organizing a fundraiser at the Playboy mansion.
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