Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SEWRPC Hearing Had Groundhog Day Feeling

Transit users, community activists and advocates for transportation spending fairness in the SE Wisconsin region spoke in favor Tuesday evening of a genuine regional transit system and a Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission more attuned to an urban needs during a public comment session that is part of a quadrennial federal review SEWRPC needs to pass to retain some federal planning and project authority.

The federal reviewers listened, took notes and even let speakers go a tad over the time allotted to each speaker. The meeting was held at State Fair Park: written comments can be submitted until 7/16/12 at: wisconsin.fhwa@dot.gov.

It was a focused, intelligent and informed meeting, but with a certain "Groundhog Day" (the movie) feel to it.

Addressing the meeting is Brian Peters (l), Housing Policy Advocate at IndependenceFirst
That's because the same themes - - too much spending on highways in the region that principally serves white and upper-income residents; diminished transit services that penalizes lower-income minorities, who then find growing transit-related limitations on their housing and job opportunities; the disproportionate suburban presence on the SEWRPC board (zero commission representatives for City of Milwaukee residents, though taxed for SEWRPC); the lack of a SEWRPC Milwaukee office while SEWRPC's Pewaukee offices are not service by transit, etc. etc. - - were presented just as earnestly at the 2004 and 2008 input meetings, after which incremental changes in SEWRPC practice and realities were recommended or instituted.

So it's good to create a record with the hope that someday, a bureaucrat or policy maker in the Federal Transit Administration or the Federal Highway Administration will look at the cumulative, repetitive record and whip SEWRPC into shape.



Loved your comments at the meeting James. The groundhog analogy had an ominous feeling to it.

Question: the 2008 audit was under Bush right?

This one was under Obama.

James Rowen said...

Thanks, and yes, the 2008 meeting took place during the Bush administration. Some of the reviewers remain the same, so I am not sure if a change in administrations means mcuh - - though I hope it does.