Thursday, February 9, 2017

Walker began the WI road financing mess with financing-free 'plan'

I could do this all day long, every day like a broken record (remember records?) until Wisconsin Gov. and phony fiscal conservative Scott Walker straightens out the state's broken highway financing situation he has overseen for six years, and even earlier: 

Pointing out as I have done several times - - example, here - - that Walker led the charge as Milwaukee County Executive on a regional highway planning committee that green-lit $6.4 billion in Southeastern Wisconsin highway reconstruction and expansion without a companion financing plan, and against the advice of other regional politicians and experts who cautioned against such adventurism with the people's roads, land, and dollars.

Is any reporter going to ask why Walker did what he did?

Earlier blog excerpt from the posting highlighted above:


So it's important to remember that Walker - - as Milwaukee County Executive - - played a key role in 2003 on a SE regional planning commission advisory committee which voted, without a companion financing plan, to recommend to state highway planners that Wisconsin add to the SE 'freeway' system the maximum number of new lanes among the alternatives considered - - 127 miles of lanes instead of 108 - - in what ultimately became a $6.4 billion package.

Walker's motion added an estimated $750 million to the ultimate price tag and also increased the number of structures and land removed from the tax base.

Though the price tag of the still-incomplete-and-still-unfunded Zoo Interchange has come down from its original projection, other segments of the seven-county system have not begun or may be delayed, further driving up their estimated costs - - all of which are in 2003 dollars.

The regional planning commission - - SEWRPC - - often turns major projects over to advisory committees - - and in this case, the full SEWRPC commission accepted the recommendation and forwarded it to WisDOT, which, in turn, accepted it as the unfolding blueprint for billions in SE WI highway work that continues to be underfunded.

[Update] Following the vote, The Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution opposing the expansion of the freeway system, per Walker's motion, and Walker vetoed it. Fifteen members of the Milwaukee Common Council, nearly its entire membership, sent SEWRPC a letter also opposing the costly expansion and noted Walker's resolution veto.

I attended the advisory committee meeting where Walker made his accepted motion for the full lanes' expansion that added 19 miles of construction cost, and I wrote about it for this blog in June, in 2009: at the highlighted link, begin on page 7 of the advisory committee's report for Walker's motion and comments in the minutes, with the final vote at the end of the committee report.

Also for the record: then-Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, Milwaukee Common Council President Marvin Pratt and several others voted no. Call them the taxpayers' true friends, unlike Walker, then-Waukesha County Executive Daniel Finley and others, including private sector special interest representatives.

This is the key sentence from the meeting minutes with regard to motions and votes:

Mr. Walker moved to amend the motion such that the final plan would include the provision of additional capacity on 127 miles of the regional freeway system – specifically, adding to the 108 mile recommendation the widening to eight lanes of IH 94 between the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges and of IH 43 between the Mitchell Interchange and Silver Spring Drive, as proposed in the preliminary recommended plan....


Betsey said...

Thanks for being the chronicler of the sinking ship. What are you going to call it? "Tilting at Icebergs?"

James Rowen said...

Dunno. How about Potholes on the Road to Ruin?

The Long and Binding Road?