Sunday, June 1, 2008

The contortionist logic

The JS editorial board continues to push freeway expansion on North-South I-94, with only a slight nod to a crucial fact.

Opponents of the widening - such as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett - argue that widening the roadway would not significantly ease travel times and that the money for expanding the roadway could be better used for mass transit alternatives. Those are legitimate concerns, especially with the rise in gas prices, and certainly the state could push harder for mass transit and the KRM.

Widening the freeway won't do what the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has for years said it will do. It will not improve traffic flow in Racine and Kenosha Counties. Maybe the JS editorial board thinks spending $200 million for something that doesn't work is a bargain. In support of its argument it cites an outdated SEWRPC study that already has been shown to be grossly inaccurate and that is contradicted by WisDOT's finding that freeway expansion won't do much for traffic flow.

Maybe we can sell the Board a $50,000 Hummer convertible. Like WisDOT's freeway to "modernize" the freeway without lane expansion, it's bigger than anyone really needs and really environmentally unfriendly. For an extra $10,000 the editorial board can get an Hummer convertible. Board members can roll around town with the wind blowing through their hair and the sun in their faces.

But wait. Turns out that the convertible roof doesn't open.

Will the editorial board still buy it? Probably not. No one in their right minds would pay extra for something knowing that it won't work.

Then why is it so damned willing to spend $200 million for freeway expansion that won't work? We are guessing it has something to do with that freeway subsidy from the federal government. The editorial board is bravely endorsing spending someone else's money.

No comments: