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Next Boondoggle From Wisconsin DOT: Double-Decking Milwaukee Freeway

8:10 AM PDT on May 16, 2013

If it seems like we've been singling out Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin DOT a lot lately, that's because WisDOT is such an excellent example of what a highly dysfunctional state transportation agency looks like. The latest foolishness: a billion-dollar proposal to double-deck part of a Milwaukee freeway.

Milwaukee is a city that lost 0.4 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010. Over that time, the larger five-county region it anchors grew 3.5 percent, or at about a third the rate of the national average.


And yet, bizarrely enough, WisDOT wants to stack highways on top of highways, reports Gretchen Schuldt of Milwaukee Rising:

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is expected to pursue an I-94 east-west freeway expansion project that would cost up to $1.2 billion and include six additional lanes of concrete in many places; double-decking through west side cemeteries; additional elevated, overlapping lanes east and west of the double-decked section; and absolutely no transit.

The double-deck proposal will raise freeway lanes 40 to 45 feet in the air through cemeteries just west of Miller Park. Estimated project costs are $950 million to $1.2 billion, the elected officials said; proposals for less expensive projects that would replace the freeway in its current configuration or include spot improvements are not favored by WisDOT.

All this is taking place, keep in mind, as WisDOT faces a civil rights lawsuit stemming from claims that the agency is starving all other modes of transportation to pursue outlandishly expensive highway projects, Schuldt reports:

WisDOT’s expansion options will come on the heels of a federal judge’s ruling that the Zoo Interchange reconstruction plans probably discriminates against minorities because they do not include transit improvements. Ald. Robert Bauman said WisDOT should immediately suspend the I-94 environmental review process and cancel next week’s public meetings so that the impact of Judge Lynn Adelman’s decision can be fully assessed.

Gov. Scott Walker is seeking delays in some of the Zoo Interchange work because of a lack of available funding.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Green Lane Project explains the importance of Walk Score's city and neighborhood bikeability rankings. I Bike TO shares a new study that finds helmet laws can actually reduce public safety. And the Metropolitan Planning Council gives an overview of DC's performance parking policies on its Connector blog.

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