Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good news: Drexel Ave. interchange likely dead

The Drexel Ave. interchange, which was supposed to be part of the North-South I-94 reconstruction project, may well be dead, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

If that is true it is good news. Even the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says the interchange could well harm the city of Milwaukee. It's not a certainty that a stake has been driven through the heart of this particular bad idea, though. WisDOT has been pushing for the interchange and there is all that federal stimulus money allegedly on the way that could help pay for it.

Reports that Oak Creek (and neighboring Franklin) were reluctant to kick in for the project have been circulating for a while now. We asked WisDOT last week what would happen if the communities declined to share in the cost, but WisDOT has yet to respond. There is a clue in the JS story, though: "The DOT has said that if there is a commitment to the $7.6 million in local money, it would consider putting the interchange back into the project."

The apparent / maybe death of the interchange also boosts Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman's argument that local government should share in the costs of highway projects within their borders. It's a good way to measure just how badly a community really wants something -- is it willing to help pay for something that it is happy to take for free?

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