Saturday, May 1, 2021

Ten posts which back Barnes' opposition to I-94 widening

Props to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for opposing the financially and environmentally-damaging widening of I-94 across Milwaukee's west side - a position he had taken when he was a member of the Legislature, as this story also reminds us.

I do not know if or whether his position has created any political problems within the Evers administration which decided to forge ahead with the nearly $1-billion expansion which even Scott Walker found too expensive.

And though the GOP-legislature has signaled it will keep the proposal in Evers' proposed budget which Republicans will otherwise clobber, the one-year delay in the project announced by WisDOT following an organized pitch to USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg gives opponents more time to push local, state and federal authorities to live up to their public commitments to transit, cleaner air and progress against climate change and only rebuild I-94 between 35th St. and the Zoo Interchange at the County line without gobbling up land and adding more noise and air pollution that will devalue neighborhoods in the corridor.

The intrusion of the Interstate Highway system through billions in spending on misnamed 'freeways' in the Milwaukee area led directly to the decline of African-American neighborhoods on the north now split by I-43 principally to service the suburbs to the north which then enjoyed development, housing and other benefits at the expense of the city.

It's time to rein in the Roadbuilding-Industrial-Complex, and tap whatever portion of Biden's infrastructure funding comes our way for things Milwaukee residents need: affordable housing, lead pipe replacements and better rail and bus services which would tie city neighborhoods and the community together, and on an equitable basis to jobs and municipalities beyond.

Below are ten posts from this blog over the last 14 years that help explain why I-94 should not be expanded again in Milwaukee:

1. About taxpayer-paid regional planning in the region that institutionally discriminated against minorities and the City of Milwaukee, from 2017.

2. About the links between SE WI segregation, highway expansion and suburban growth, from 2008.

3. About I-43's economic damage, from 2009.

4. About civil rights litigation over the Zoo Interchange expansion, from 2012.

5. About the willful elimination of regional bus lines, from 2016.

6. About the history of the GOP's hostility to rail and regional transit coordination, from 2017.

7. About multiple governmental decisions which helped segregate the region, from 2019.

8. About Evers' resurrection of the I-94 project and its echoes in his green-light to expanding State Highway 23, from 2020.

9. About Walker era spending on new roads, not on repairs, or transit, from 2021.

10. Delaying the I-94 expansion plan is a good idea, from 2021

There is no constituency or true priority for, and zero fit with environmental justice and climate science facts and agendas to justify rebooting the Story Hill-area I-94 expansion which even road-building-boosting Walker had abandoned. 

Why are we still dreaming about adding expensive 'freeway' [sic] lanes 


while the potholes ('Scottholes') and crumbled pavement statewide which helped drive Walker out of office remain unrepaired.


Geo said...

A billion dollars for something that's only an issue for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening? We've seen more and more corporations understand the benefits of "work from home", we know we have to cut way back on the needless burning of fossil fuels, and people have to realize a single person, driving in a car, paying for parking and other costs isn't worth the environmental damage. I'd think a billion dollars could give us a light rail system right down the corridor.

Laurette McGovern said...

Put that money into N-S and E-W commuter rail and we won't have to expand the higgways.