Sunday, July 31, 2016

Walker said big SE road spending on hold. He lied.

[Updated July 31]  It was widely reported on June 27th that Gov. Scott Walker had instructed his Wisconsin Department of Transportation to minimize major road projects in Southeastern Wisconsin - - those unaffordable 'freeway' expansions costing in the multiple billions of dollars which he has been instrumental - - on behalf of his road-builder donors - - in promoting for more than a decade, records and media reports indicated:
Gov. Scott Walker wants his transportation secretary to submit a budget request that minimizes spending on major construction projects in southeast Wisconsin. 
And a few weeks later, Walker left the impression with a northern Wisconsin television outlet that the cutback in SE road spending would be accompanied by more road spending up North: 
Phillips - Last summer, the state of Wisconsin committed hundreds of millions of dollars to reconstruct the massive Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee. That left some people here in northern Wisconsin upset, hoping more money would go toward fixing their local roads… 
We spoke with Walker last week in Phillips. If the governor gets his way, his plan could mean more money for road repair in northern Wisconsin.
"My priority is I want to make sure that safety and maintenance are the focal point, not major new projects," Walker said. "We're not going to do, in the foreseeable future, any big projects, particularly in the Milwaukee area."
Walker's statements on the subject have been manipulative, misleading and false, because it was reported today by The Journal Sentinel that on May 13th - - before his remarks about minimizing big SE road project spending in Southeastern Wisconsin - - Walker had told federal highway officials in writing he wants to forge ahead with the most controversial portion of his beloved Southeast Freeway plan - - the $850 million expansion from Miller Park to the Zoo Interchange which will edge or bridge three cemeteries and bring unwanted pollution across the Democratic residential stronghold - - an attractive target for the super-partisan, payback-motivated Walker - - the Story Hill neighborhood:

As Gov. Scott Walker talks about cutting Milwaukee highway megaprojects to avoid gas tax hikes, he's telling federal officials that he'll green-light another nearly $1 billion job in southeastern Wisconsin. 
This month, Walker told a Northwoods television station the state is going to focus more on outstate roads and "not going to do, in the foreseeable future, any big projects, particularly in the Milwaukee area..."  
But in a May 13 letter, the GOP governor told the Federal Highway Administration that his administration wants to kick off an $850 million project to widen an east-west stretch of I-94 between the Marquette and Zoo interchanges from six lanes to eight.
List me among the snookered all these recent weeks:
Walker pledges restraint on unfunded road-building he long championed
What we have here is classic Scott Walker policy-by-bomb-dropping and scheming by misdirection.

Equally bad: in order to pay the state's share of highway expansion in SE Wisconsin - - portions of which both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County have said they do not want - - especially because Walker has also ruled out any tax or fee increases to help for the bills - - many other state programs will have to be cut in the next budget to put the transportation budget together without new state fees or additional gas taxes.

Final note: as with the other SE Wisconsin freeway expansion projects, the plan Walker will now push includes no funding for transit, continuing a discriminatory transportation spending pattern in favor of automobile owners and against lower-income, minority and urban residents and workers.

Litigation by civil rights groups when Zoo Interchange spending began without a transit component led to a Federal Court-approved settlement which forced Walker's transportation department to add about three years of bus line services.

That it took civil rights litigation to bring a measure of equity to public spending in Wisconsin speaks volumes about Walker's relationship with minorities and the City of Milwaukee.

Look for similar efforts in this upcoming round of public spending, since the roadwork begins and ends in Milwaukee.


Anonymous said...

This is incredible. Thanks for bringing it back to attention. He really will say and do anything to stay in power. What a craven person.

my5cents said...

Now some are pushing for the poor to pay additional taxes in the form of increased fees to shore up the DOT while Walker exempts corporations from paying income tax. How is that fair? Not that Walker ever did anything that was fair, but all I am saying is get the money from the people who are making record profits in their businesses. You know, the ones who have the money instead of the ones who don't.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that High Speed Rail wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all. If Wanker had taken the Federal money and done that, perhaps more of those transportation dollars could have been devoted to road repair up in Northern Wisconsin. But you folks up there didn't think about THAT when you were jumping on his bandwagon, were you?

Lon S said...

What you are all talking about is rational responses to immediate problems ...that DOES NOT COMPUTE in the Republikan realm of LOGIC (remember 2 + 2 does NOT equal 4; world is FLAT (just look outside !!); climate change is a HOAX; and the BEST ONE: TRUMP would make a GREAT POTUS!! Walker is in the TRUMP camp and hopes to get a position w/ the GENIUS should the unbelievable occur and he somehow STEALS the election (remember W in 2000 & 2004 !!). Informed intelligent, concerned citizens (exclude Walker & Trump backers) better get OFF their dead asses and start thinking/working like members of a DEMOCRACY (a word that Reps definitely do NOT understand !!). You want a DEMOCRACY . . .work for it, goddamn it or let these unscrupulous cocksuckers take over YOUR government and then cry in your collective beers afterwards !!!