Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Foxconn will produce more road, transit under-funding, planners predict

Muddy water may soon stop running off the rain-soaked Foxconn site - - video here - - but the flow of red ink the project will spill onto transportation programs and budgets looks to be long-term.

That's because the $4.5 billion in state and local subsidies GOP Gov. Scott Walker stage-managed for the company, and to which he has tied his campaign for a third term, will only expand the region's transportation funding shortfall, non-partisan experts conclude. (Full Foxconn archive, here).

An analysis by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, (SEWRPC), in a proposed update to its seven-county master plan, estimates that financing needed for Foxconn-related transit and road upgrades will widen an existing gap between the revenues that are available and the revenues that Foxconn's presence will reasonably require.

You can read the SEWRPC master plan, "VISION 2050," here, plus its proposed amendments, comment procedure, and deadline, and a schedule of six regional public hearings on the amendments SEWRPC begin on September 10, here.

I consider this discussion about the impact of Foxconn on transportation funding, particularly with respect to transit needs getting kicked to the curb to be a major takeaway from the agency's plan amendments; I will get back to these and other issues raised in the draft amendments, particularly with respect to housing and other matters.

But let's start this first cut with the amendments and transportation matters:

When VISION 2050 was initially prepared, the financial analysis identified a funding gap, which required identifying the funded portion of the recommended transportation system. 

This funded portion is referred to as the “Fiscally Constrained Transportation Plan (FCTP)” and is presented in Chapter 2 of Volume III of the VISION 2050 plan report. 

The original FCTP included all transportation elements of VISION 2050 except for portions of the public transit element. Specifically, most of the major transit improvement and expansion components in VISION 2050 were not included in the FCTP, and also reductions in current transit service were expected to continue. 

However, the analysis noted that the recommended arterial system improvements, particularly reconstructing the regional freeway system, would require funding levels from State budgets of the last decade to be maintained.

In revisiting this analysis of existing and reasonably expected costs and revenues associated with the transportation system recommended in VISION 2050, staff confirmed that without additional revenue the Region will not be able to achieve the public transit system recommended in VISION 2050. 

The updated analysis also shows that expected revenues will be insufficient to complete the recommended reconstruction of several portions of the Region’s arterial street and highway system by 2050. 

This will result predominately in a reduction in the amount of freeway that can be reconstructed by 2050, but will also result in a reduction in the amount of surface arterials that can be reconstructed with additional lanes or can be newly constructed by 2050...

I don't think anyone as long as Walker is governor and his 'small-government' party is in power will expect new transit financing, so get used to more congestions and air pollution.


Here is the comment procedures, and public meeting schedule for discussion of the plan amendments:

Public Meeting Schedule
Monday, September 10, 5:00-7:00PM
Carroll University - Campus Center (Oak Room)
Tuesday, September 11, 5:00-7:00PM
Mitchell Street Library, Milwaukee
Monday, September 17, 5:00-7:00PM
SC Johnson iMet Center, Sturtevant
Tuesday, September 18 5:00-7:00PM
Villard Square Library, Milwaukee
Wednesday, September 19, 5:00-7:00PM
Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha
Thursday, September 20, 5:00-7:00PM
Corinne Reid-Owens Transit Center, Racine
Submit Comments

Comments can be submitted in person at a public meeting, online through the SEWRPC website, or via email, letter, or fax (contact information at the bottom of this page). Any comments received through September 30, 2018* will be reviewed by Commission staff and will be summarized and addressed. The comments received will be reviewed by the Advisory Committees guiding VISION 2050 and the Commission as part of their consideration of incorporating the Foxconn development into VISION 2050.

Additionally, the amendments will be discussed at the next meeting of the SEWRPC Environmental Justice Task Force:

September 13, 2018 4:30 p.m.
Milwaukee Urban League 435 W. North Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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