Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Court says no Federal $$ for WI highway project built w/ bad data

Updating the tainted, twisted tale of the stalled $151 million expansion of Wisconsin State Highway 23 - - check out this 2011 news story - - previously noted on this blog in May, 2015, for example
This blog has been following for years the outrageous attempt to build a costly expansion of State Highway 23 connecting Fond du Lac and Plymouth - - posts, for example here, and here...
Note also the similarities in the ruling to Judge [Lynn] Adelman's earlier rulings in cases involving WisDOT and its deficient planning and spending on State Highway 164 west of Milwaukee and on I-94 expansion in the Zoo Interchange at the Milwaukee County/Waukesha County border where WisDOT left out transit improvements for low-income residents with access to cars.
Here's the Tuesday news update:

A three-judge US Federal Appeals Court panel has ruled that the state's proposed spending on Highway 23 was based on bad data, so while the state is free to go ahead with the project but only without any Federal funding:

If put back on track, the project is expected to cost $151 million, according to state DOT figures released in February. So far, about $34 million has been spent. 
The project has long been delayed because of the litigation. Gov. Scott Walker recommended putting it off another two years even before last week’s decision came down. The ruling could mean further delays.

The federal court rulings sure do make me wonder about why Wisconsin's highway projects keep running over budget, according to this January report:
The cost of major road projects in Wisconsin doubled between the time they were planned and built, a sweeping audit of the state Department of Transportation revealed Thursday.
It cost $1.5 billion to build 19 major projects between 2006 and 2015 — $772.5 million more than originally estimated, the Legislative Audit Bureau found. Even though the state was spending money on most of these projects for 18 years or more, the DOT didn't take into account the considerable effects that inflation and changes to project design would have on those costs over time.
Another 16 projects that were ongoing as of August 2016 saw similar spikes in their costs. Originally expected to cost $2.7 billion, they are now slated to come in at $5.8 billion, the audit found.
And who thinks that the state transportation budget which is stalled in the Legislature and is drowning in red ink and has Legislative Republicans fighting with each other has a spare $151 million lying around to pay for the Highway 23 boondoggle? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on this, but DID NOT mention the "bad" (re: FAKE & FRAUDULENT) data. I specifically looked at this carefully, because I knew that you have always reported the story this way.

Looks like the usual gang is doin' what they can to protect "their boy" Walker and his GOP cohorts again. The public should be in-arms, especially those "figal conserbbabive" types. Who knows, maybe if the media in Wisconsin actually reported semi-truthfully (instead of bold-faced Walker lies), they would figure out they are being conned.

Until then, we are going to continue to be railroaded. And 2018? By hook-or-crook, Walker will "win" another term and Wisconsin's media will overwhelmingly endorse him even though he will have failed to reach his first-term 250,000 job pledge after TWO terms.

But that won't matter. The state's media has proclaimed this was just a "Big Idea" (tm) and, in 2018, will proclaim that it is unfair and unproductive to ever mention this massive Walker-fail again.