Friday, January 14, 2011

The Road To Sprawlville Criss-Crosses Waukesha County; Chapter 46

Is this an era of public spending austerity, or is it business as usual?

If the issue is road-building, and the terrain is Waukesha County, it's full-speed ahead as we see in this the 46th chapter of our continuing series, The Road To Sprawlville.

The Pabst Farms centerpiece shopping mall off I-94 in Western Waukesha County has never been built, yet state and local road planners continue to prepare an expanded, $25 million full-diamond interchange to the site - -  and are just beginning to plan for the expansion of a related area road, State Highway 67, officials announced.

Think of all the money poured into development at the edge of Oconomowoc on former agricultural lands - - some of which has yet to see construction - - while the city's sweet downtown struggles.

Is there a connection?

The City of Waukesha wants to extend water service westward, according to its Lake Michigan diversion application, and the so-called Western Bypass road expansion will likely carry more traffic in that area, too.

There is opposition in the neighboring Town of Waukesha to the bypass, and there are multiple water disagreements between the Town and City, so none of this simple.

What is clear: Like the original railroads, if you bring new water services and highway extensions to relatively unpopulated areas, development will follow.

Government officials talk a good game about reining in spending, but water and road planners are looking collectively to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on new roads and water pipes to extend the economy further from the urbanized centers in Waukesha and Ocomomwoc, and billions of dollars if you include the full freeway expansion and reconstruction plan moving the economy further from Milwaukee and the job pool there.

The next time you hear conservative ideologues touting the market's direction of the economy - - land development, job creation, housing construction - - remember that government officials plan continually and spend heavily from public coffers to push growth where they want.

And in this region, it's west of Milwaukee and now west of urbanized Waukesha, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Over 15 years I managed to scrape together enough (at blue collar wages) to acquire 20 acres of farmland. I did this to hopefully use it to start a profitable business.

I will be developing it (with thoughts of looking after my own eventual retirement), if at all possible, into, imagine this outrageous idea, a working sustainable farm.