To justify $1.1 billion boondoggle, WisDOT cooks the books
While local Wisconsin roads deteriorate and the state plans to defund popular transit systems, WisDOT is using outdated traffic data to roll over local opposition, community health and common sense to shove a costly eight-lane I-94 expansion into and over Milwaukee's west side, this report shows:
- Data That Don’t Support Project: A September 2014 USPIRG report, “Highway Boondoggles: Wasteful Spending and America’s Future,” notes that the I-94 expansion is based on the presumption that traffic volumes are expected to grow by 2030. In fact, traffic dropped in this corridor between 2009 and 2012, the latest year for which data are available. Inexplicably, a 2014 WISDOT statement describing current traffic count numbers uses 2010 figures rather than the more recent 2012 figures, which are lower than the 2010 counts. A 2014 1000 Friends of Wisconsin report found that traffic counts on this stretch of highway decreased 8 percent from 2000-2012.
- Community Opposition: The City of Milwaukee has passed four resolutions opposing the highway expansion; Milwaukee County has also passed a resolution opposing expansion. In addition, hundreds of community members have expressed public opposition to these options put forward by WISDOT.
- Wasting Taxpayer Money: In addition to squandering resources on a project that data don’t support, unneeded highway expansion will divert billions of dollars away from the repair of existing local roads and other critical local transportation infrastructure all over Wisconsin. For example, with limited resources dedicated to repair, Wisconsin has 1,157 bridges that engineers have deemed “structurally deficient,” according to the most recent (2013) National Bridge Inventory tabulated by the Federal Highway Administration.
The big road contractors need to be paid back for buying Walker and Republicans another term to do the bidding of special interests.
There have been and are so many stories that investigative journalists in this state could pursue, but don't (and Walker and team know it). No wonder the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hasn't been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for journalism since 2011 (coincidentally the year Scott Walker took office as governor).
This will put his $563 million surplus to the test. If Walker's got that much money left over from the last budget the half a billion dollars that transportation wants from the general fund should be right there handy for the taking. I bet it's not there......any takers?
Not even close to being there- try a $2.5 billion deficit, even with average revenue growth.
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