Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Friday deadline: speak up against the I-94 N-S corridor plan

Friday is the deadline to file comments re. the ill-considered, unfunded $1.9 billion Wisconsin Department of Transportation proposal to expand North-South I-94.

To make your participation in democracy easier, please feel free to use any of the comments below. Another idea -- use the comments as a basis to come up with your own.

Jan. 25, 2008

Wisconsin Dept of Transportation
Waukesha, WI

Via FAX: 262-548-5662
Via Email: dotsefreeways94nsc@dot.state.wi.us

Objections to Expansion of I-94 N/S


Dear WisDOT:

I object to the proposed $1.9 billion I-94 highway rebuilding and expansion
project. My objections include:

Need to Prioritize Transit: I object to the state spending $1.9 billion on highways - including $200 million to add lanes to I-94 - when Wisconsin has not provided adequate state funding for existing transit systems and for widely desired planned expansions (like the KRM), and when the state requires local taxpayers to assume a vastly disproportionate share of the funding for transit. Transit is a vital resource to ensure equity for the large numbers of low income and minority residents and persons with disabilities who lack vehicles; to help reduce air pollution; to limit urban sprawl; and to improve urban development opportunities. The state needs to
prioritize AND PAY FOR those transit improvements - and it should do that before it builds yet another expanded highway. WisDOT needs to change its focus and use transit expansion to try to reduce the need for bigger highways.

Need to Prevent Loss of Milwaukee Development: I object to the construction of a new, multi-million dollar interchange at Drexel Ave., especially when WisDOT admits in the DEIS that constructing the interchange could hurt development and redevelopment efforts in the city of Milwaukee while encouraging development on unused, green, suburban land.

Air Quality and Health Effects: Numerous studies show that traffic-generated< particulates and pollution have adverse affects on health, particularly among children. A recent study shows that students attending schools within 500 meters of a freeway can suffer permanent lung damage. In Milwaukee, there are at least ten schools within 500 meters of the North-South freeway
within the project area, including at least two schools virtually adjacent to the highway. There has been no meaningful analysis of how the multi-year construction itself, or increased travel generated by highway expansion, will affect the health of those students and other neighborhood residents, and no plan to prevent harm.

Environmental Effects: In addition to air pollution, the plan does not deal adequately with the loss of wetlands; the stormwater and related runoff and potential flooding and/or water pollution that paving more land for a bigger highway could cause; or the potential harm to many threatened and endangered species.

Lack of Plan to Fund Big Highways: I object to the lack of any concrete funding plan. The state needs to decide how this project will be funded before it commits to multi-billion dollar expenditures. State residents have a right to know how this will affect their taxes and transportation fees and the state s financial outlook. They also have a right to know how a project that will absorb so many resources will affect other needed projects; I am
concerned that funding shortfalls could divert even more money to big highway projects and lead to further decreases in state money for transit, and for local governments to maintain local roads. I object to the unreasonably low inflation estimatese (the DEIS uses a 3% estimate while
American Road & Transportation Builders Association reported in October that over thepast three years, "annual highway and street construction material prices have increased nearly 32 percent." And I object to the unreasonable estimate that gasoline will cost $2.30 a gallon.


Sincerely,


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