Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The final proof that WisDOT is out of its mind

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is proposing yet another publicly-financed interchange to benefit a private business. This time it's the Kohler Co. calling the tune by which WisDOT will pick the public's pockets.

All because of a single event that led cars to take Highway 57 instead of the freeway. (Oh, the horror!)

The Daily Reporter has the story:

The concept for the interchange formed when the Professional Golfers’ Association tour went to Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler for its championship tournament in 2004. In planning traffic routes for the accompanying heavy congestion, the Kohler Co., WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration discussed ways to deal with vehicle volume.

“About 60 percent of the traffic came from the south because the real hotel access was in Milwaukee,” Hoekstra said. “The ramps really can’t handle the traffic volumes during peak traffic times from the south and southwest, so we had some groups coming up from Milwaukee actually going up Highway 57 and then driving out to Kohler as opposed to using the interstates.”

The proposed interchange would be an "event-only" interchange. No kidding.

According to the newspaper:

"It’s an interchange that could deter large-scale development in the area, and it may only be operational for brief periods in 2010, 2015 and 2020. It also would not be built in preparation of a hotel expansion or construction plans by the Kohler Co."

The only good news is that taxpayers will be robbed for only half the cost -- Kohler will pick up the other half, and the total bill may be less than $5 million. That is a darned sight better that the highway robbery in Waukesha County , where the public will foot the vast majority of the bill for the proposed $25 million Pabst Farms interchange.

Still, to bill the public for at least $2.5 million for an interchange that will be used a couple of times a year by people going to a rich folks' spectator event: isn't there something wrong with that?

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