Kudos to the civil libertarians who have doggedly pursued social and economic justice from the State of Wisconsin, the Department of Transportation and others in southeastern Wisconsin on behalf of minority, low-income and urban residents:
The state Department of Transportation did not follow federal civil rights rules for at least seven years, a yearlong investigation has found.
An American Civil Liberties Union attorney applauded the decision by the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Civil Rights as a step toward holding state transportation officials accountable for how their actions affect minorities.These matters and the struggle for rights and fairness by advocates have been tracked on this blog repeatedly.
Coalition Cites Discrimination In Zoo Interchange, Transportation Spending
Several Milwaukee area groups have made available their detailed comments to state officials during the recent testimony phase of the Zoo Interchange project planning.
Staff at the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission want a key task force to wrap up its work "via email."
An attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin is advising SEWRPC against that process because it would violate the Wisconsin open meeting law.
An important issue is involved: work by consultants for the SEWRPC Environmental Justice Task Force looking at possible socio-economic impacts of the agency's draft water supply recommendations - - including an endorsement of diverting Lake Michigan water to Waukesha.
* From 2009:SEWRPC Faulted On Stimulus Decision-Making
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin continues to monitor transportation decision-making in the region, as it took the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to task last Friday for excluding the public, low-income and minority communities from meaningful participation in the allocation of millions in federal stimulus spending...
It also filed a separate complaint against the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on behalf of several organizations and individuals, raising, again, similar challenges to the State of Wisconsin's SEWRPC-blessed commitment of $1.9 billion to rebuild and widen I-94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line.
* Also from 2009:Best Case Against I-94 North-South Project In ACLU Complaint
* From 2008:
Data, argument here.
Discrimination Alleged In I-94 Planning: Echoes Of SEWRPC Complaints
The ACLU of Wisconsin has filed a discrimination complaint against the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, alleging that the $1.9 billion north/south rebuilding and expansion of I-94 harms low-income and minority residents of Milwaukee to the benefit of whiter, wealthier suburbanites.
* Also in 2008:Civil Rights Complaint Hits SEWRPC
ACLU Slaps SEWRPC Over Pulseless Outreach
The long-standing lack of participation by City of Milwaukee representatives and minorities at the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planing Commission, and its focus on highway planning over transit, has led to a federal civil rights complaint against the commission, records show.
The complaint, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, is here.
The Wisconsin ACLU, from its Milwaukee offices, has rightly told the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission that the agency is moving far too slowly with the formation of a task force on environmental justice.
SEWRPC has had months to get this outreach effort underway but has not made task force appointments and is not aggressively getting input on appointees from communities to whom this long-overdue outreach effort is aimed, the ACLU says in its new release.
With its laissez-faire approach, SEWRPC is skating on thin ice with watchdog groups like the ACLU, and federal regulators who could use federal civil rights laws to light a fire under SEWRPC, as the ACLU further reminds SEWRPC by letter.