Monday, September 13, 2021

Weigh in Tuesday for transit & against I-94 expansion in Milwaukee

Milwaukeeans and residents statewide can take an action step Tuesday to confront two crises: burgeoning climate change-driven calamities which are flooding media and large swaths of the country, and systematic transportation service deficits in Southeastern Wisconsin which continue to fuel environmental and workforce injustices, too. 

Tuesday's public participation opportunity aims to pressure WisDOT to abandon its billion-dollar boondoggle to widen I-94 across Western Milwaukee residential neighborhoods, and create with those public dollars a project which emphasizes transit needs whose neglect has held back countless individuals, families, businesses and an entire region, as the Brookings Institution noted in a major, 2008 report about the entire Great Lakes region.

These few sentences from the report summed up then what cities like Milwaukee needed and still need now,   and presciently shed light on why the proposed I-94 widening adds only retrograde concrete, pollution, stilted 'planning' and lost opportunities, writ large: 

To strengthen the economies of the region’s metropolitan areas, the Great Lakes states and the federal government should:

• Design and embrace a new competitive vision for transportation policy that includes high speed rail, greater access to ports and freight hubs, and better maintenance and preservation of existing highway and transit systems 

• Rebuild the region’s crumbling water and sewer infrastructure based on a thorough assessment of regional needs and a “fix-it-first” funding strategy that prioritizes existing systems in established communities. 

• Reinvest in cities and older communities by targeting infrastructure and economic development funding toward catalytic urban projects and revamping federal policies that concentrate the poor in decaying urban neighborhoods

A redefined WISDOT project would force historically unresponsive public agencies to broaden their horizons and correct their harmful, neglectful policies in our region which I have repeatedly catalogued and blogged about:

I am adding to this [2019] post about environmental justice and government-enabled discriminatory planning in SE WI the schedule of an important television documentary about the destruction of African-American homes, business and neighborhood cohesion by I-43 construction from Milwaukee to the northern suburbs....
And had addressed earlier in a January, 2015 item, here.
Say "No" to WisDOT's Billion-Dollar -I-94 Boondoggle
And had expanded up several months ago, here:

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


So please note that on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 a coalition of community organizations will hold a Zoom news conference to release an alternative proposal that would force WisDOT to make investments into long-ignored transit agendas and put the agency's weight into the fight against climate change which its preferred, one-dimensional lane expansion 'option' continues to choke. 

At great short and long-term costs.


 Media advisory: Groups to unveil alternative to I-94 expansion

In response to the proposed expansion of I-94 East West in Milwaukee, a coalition of environmental, faith and transit advocates will hold a virtual press conference on Tuesday, September 14 at 10 a.m. CT to release an alternative, transit-oriented plan that better meets the transportation, accessibility, equity, economic and environmental needs of the greater Milwaukee region. 

Leaders from the coalition will share their unique perspectives related to the I-94 expansion and why they are calling for a better solution for Milwaukeeans. The report comes out as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) begins the public input process for a supplemental environmental review of the proposed highway expansion.

The event will include the following speakers:

  • Gregg May, Transportation Policy Director, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

  • Caressa Givens, Milwaukee Community Programs Manager, Wisconsin Bike Fed 

  • Cheryl Nenn, Riverkeeper, Milwaukee Riverkeeper

  • Victoria Gillet, Physician and Member, Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action


Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 10:00 AM CT


This event will be held via Zoom. Zoom event login for Tuesday, 9/14 at 10:00 AM CT: Click here to attend and use passcode 611467. 

Or join by phone by dialing: +1 312 626 6799 
Meeting ID: 967 2842 6598 Passcode: 611467

Contact Cassie Steiner, 262 930 3963 or with any technical questions. 

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