The City of Milwaukee finds that an obscure technical tweak in water planning recommendations is assuming a central role five years later favoring Waukesha's position on diverting water to an area outside its borders.
How many examples do we need to grasp that Milwaukee is harmed by its inclusion in the southeastern regional planning commission (SEWRPC), where City of Milwaukee taxpayers supply 16% of the seven-county commission's operating budget but by law have no commissioner's vote.
SEWRPC is the agency that began a regional housing study a couple of years ago - - under pressure from urban advocates - - but hadn't written such a plan since 1975 as the region sprawled away from Milwaukee's economy and its minority residents and job-seekers.
And developed the freeway expansion plan - - against the City's wishes - - that will push development farther from Milwaukee, where transit is dying, but where water is sought and where SEWRPC has recommended in a study Lake Michigan water be diverted.
In 2006, I wrote:
SEWRPC has paved the way for much of the region’ssprawl, literally: The agency recently recommended $6.5 billion in state spending on freeway modernization and expansion, including adding new lanes across Waukesha County – - the very area where overdevelopment has contributed to the county’s water problems.
Though it says it will examine conservation and other alternatives, SEWRPC will probably endorse out-of-basin diversions as a key element for regional