Friday, November 30, 2007

WisDOT spreads holiday cheer by scheduling public comment period over holidays

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has scheduled the public comment period for its proposed unfunded $1.9 billion I-94 North-South reconstruction and expansion project to open and close precisely with the holiday season, that period when people are most likely to be distracted by other things.

Think that was an accident?

WisDOT released the 367-page draft environmental impact statement on Friday, Nov. 16 and opened the public comment period on the same day. The next week was the week of Thanksgiving -- the official kickoff of the holiday season, when people are busy, busy, busy and on the go, go, go.

When does the WisDOT public comment period close? What a coincidence -- on Dec. 31, New Year's Eve! Yup, the end of the holiday season and the end of all those distractions. The city of Milwaukee has received WisDOT's blessings to get its input after the holidays, to give the Common Council time to consider Ald. Bob Bauman's proposal to forego expansion in favor of transit.

To the rest of us, though, WisDOT's holiday gift is a big stocking stuffed full of bad faith and billions in bills it wants us to pay. Somehow. In a manner not quite decided.

There are public hearings scheduled (during the holiday season) on the EIS as listed below. We also have asked WisDOT just where people who want to do so are supposed to mail, email, or fax their comments. We think it is to the folks listed here, though it isn't really clear. The EIS says comments should be sent to Roberto Guttierrez, who is listed as the project manager in the document. Adrian Lopez is listed as the project manager on the NS project webste. The website has Lopez' email address, but not Guttierrez's.

More confusion by WisDOT. How surprising. We'll clarify when we get the info from our friends at WisDOT.

The agency has also scheduled public hearings at the following locations and times:

* Oak Creek/Franklin
December 3, 4-8 p.m.
West Middle School
8401 13th St.
Oak Creek
Bus Routes: #15, #48

* Kenosha area
December 6, 5-8 p.m.
Mahone Middle School
6900 60th St.
Bus Routes: #6, #3 North, #3 West, #5 South

* Racine area
December 11, 5-8 p.m.
CATI Center
2320 Renaissance Blvd.
Bus Route: #27

* Milwaukee
December 12, 4-8 p.m.
Best Western Airport
5105 S. Howell Ave.
Bus Routes: #80, #11

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