Get used to headlines and summaries like this one on the Journal Sentinel's news feed:
Weekend I-94 shutdown will create headaches; here are detour routes
The regional freeway system reconstruction plan still has decades to go before completion (and the next full-blown expansion, though a federal court ruling may make some profound changes).Three mile backups expected with graduations, Kenny Chesney concert
Projects within projects will also crop up and bring delays to purportedly-closed out 'improvements'; already the so-called completed $810 million Marquette Interchange four-year uproar has had two major do-over FUBARs - - one because of a failing ramp support, and a second as lanes moving west out of the downtown needed re-striping and shifting that the original reconstruction had botched.
The one-size-fits-all Wisconsin solution - - more of this:
It didn't have to be this way. Fueled by talk radio fear-mongering, anti-big city/light-rail opponents in the Legislature and Waukesha County (the final, proposed starter route did not cross 124th St., the Milwaukee-Waukesha County line) killed a Milwaukee light-rail plan, so we are left today and for the foreseeable future with a one-dimensional, traffic-inducing system that will be patched, torn up, expanded and otherwise in constant 'lane-closed' mode forever.
The proposed initial light rail system would have gained widespread acceptance once available for use - - as it did and does in cities from Baltimore to Charleston to Dallas )see photo, below) to Minneapolis to Phoenix to Denver and beyond - - and suburban opponents near Milwaukee would have become advocates as commuters found rail a pleasant alternative to get to work, a ballgame, Summerfest, or the Zoo, and eventually to the airport, the Amtrak station and thus to events in Chicago and beyond.
So - - orange barrels and cones, yes, but this is banned:
Libertarians and far-right ideologues out there have this odd belief that they should never put in a dime for something they do not endorse, or would not use, like a light rail train, and that restrictive thinking and politicking is leading to a political blockade of Milwaukee's proposed downtown starter trolley, too.
But in a democracy with 50 states, we all contribute all the time to systems and programs we may never use.
Some gasoline and income taxes collected here are included in federal transportation and project funds sent to light rail systems nationally.
And to bridges and roads we may never see or access - - from Alaska to Hawaii to south Florida or the north of North Dakota.
Pick a state. Each of us makes a contribution to those states' roads and rail built and operated principally for the benefit of people there, and the entire, inter-dependent connected country - - and for you and me if we go there.
Similarly, people from across the country are contributing to the federal share of I-94 reconstruction, or a new bridge connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota, or the eventual Waukesha By-Pass, and the federal funds making up the Milwaukee trolley account that came from all 50 states' taxpayers, too.
Taxpayers make contributions to pots of money allocated by various governments for all kinds of projects and programs - - local, state and federal - - from school choice vouchers to freight rail moving frac sand to needle exchanges to levees in New Orleans to the Afghan war to the International Space Station - - whether each taxpayer uses or likes the program or spending use, or not.
But in Wisconsin, the not-me exclusionists have cut off rail as an option, thus denying Milwaukee cleaner air, transit-related development, road-construction mitigation, and Amtrak connections within and out-of-state that would have encouraged tourism, university collaboration and commercial connections - - as choices - - between and among people, and institutions from Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, and elsewhere.
Wisconsin's political congestion - - in the State Capitol, in the business community leadership, in suburban governments - - is consigning the state and its largest metro area to permanent road construction congestion and congested economic development., too
The orange barrel is the new Wisconsin state symbol. As the Journal Sentinel said today, plan for the delays.