Friday, March 6, 2015

Strong court challenge to expansion of WI State Highway 23

I noted yesterday that WisDOT was getting national attention over allegations by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and others that spending on I-94 expansion with federal funds in the Milwaukee area continues to ignore the needs of low-income and minority residents.

In that vein, numerous data and procedural errors are said to have paved the way for WisDOT to soon begin an expensive, farm-and-wetlands gobbling expansion to four lanes of a section of State Highway 23 in Sheboygan and Fond du Lac County.

This snippet from a 72-page brief filed last month in US District Court in Milwaukee supporting the allegations provides a sense of what the plaintiffs say is at stake:
...the public interest is served not only by protecting environmental resources in the WIS 23 corridor that need not be destroyed, but also by ensuring that an objective and fair evaluation of the proposed project, its reasonable alternatives, and its impacts occurs in fulfillment of NEPA’s [National Environmental Policy Act] action-forcing and full disclosure requirements, before irreversible actions are taken. 
The plaintiffs also alleged that the authorities:
misrepresented criteria for considering and selecting appropriate highway types; selectively utilized and rejected data regarding the safety and operational characteristics of alternatives in a biased, unreasonable manner; failed to respond to substantive comments by [the state agriculture department];... 
failed to utilize the most recent Wis DOA population projections in projecting future traffic volumes and in evaluating the feasibility of alternatives; and failed to adhere to anything even remotely resembling use of fair and objective methods and good science... 
failed to consider a manifestly reasonable alternative to the current plan; evaluated the need for the proposed 4-lane expansion on the basis of overstated, biased and unreasonable traffic projections; screened out a limited passing lane alternative on the basis of those biased traffic projections and biased safety and cost-benefit analyses; 

I will post a link to the full document when I get its format redone.


No comments: