City Pushing Back On Interstate 94 Expansion, Not Reconstruction
City poised to lobby feds to slow down WisDOT.
Governor Scott Walker pulled the plug on a plan to expand Interstate 94 between N. 16th St. and N. 70th St. in 2017. His administration asked the federal government to rescind its authorization of the project.
But Governor Tony Evers revived the plan in 2020 and now the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is hoping to reactivate the federal record of decision, avoiding the need for a new environmental impact study and public hearings.
Bauman introduced a measure directing the city’s intergovernmental affairs team to lobby the federal government to block the state’s quick reactivation.
“Basically it asks them to go back to the drawing board in justifying the need to expand this freeway,” said Bauman. The committee unanimously backed his request and it will next go before the full council.
“The city is on record, from several years ago, opposing the expansion, but not the reconstruction,” said Bauman. The alderman estimates rebuilding, but not expanding, the highway would free up $200 million that could be spent elsewhere. That funding could go towards mass transit or other infrastructure improvements, like rebuilding streets or repairing potholes.
The total project cost is estimated to exceed $1 billion according to testimony from state officials at a January hearing. There are no direct city funds in the proposed project.
“We’re cognizant of the jobs, that’s why we’ve always supported reconstruction,” said Bauman. He said spending the expansion money on other improvements in the city would create the same number of jobs, but yield more benefits for city residents.
Murphy said a recent virtual meeting for some of his constituents drew three attendees. “That’s not really public input,” the alderman said.
The westside alderman also wants the state to study the long-term impact of the pandemic on travel patterns before making a decision.
Joyce Ellwanger and David Jasenski, a former county supervisor and member of Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH), both spoke in support of a new study.
- Op Ed: Rebuild I-94 in Milwaukee - John Raines, John Schmitt, Terry McGowan and Tony Mayrhofer - Feb 20th, 2021
- Coalition Opposes I-94 Expansion Project - Coalition for More Responsible Transportation - Feb 17th, 2021
- Construction Business Group Supports Governor Evers’ State Budget Proposal - Construction Business Group - Feb 17th, 2021
- Labor Leaders Voice Support For The I-94 East-West Corridor Project - Press Release - Feb 16th, 2021
- Transportation: Council Disagrees on I-94 Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 9th, 2021
- Transportation: City Pushing Back On Interstate 94 Expansion, Not Reconstruction - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 1st, 2021
- Ald. Bauman introduces resolution directing the City to lobby against I-94 reconstruction - Ald. Bob Bauman - Jan 21st, 2021
- Transportation: Interstate 94 Expansion Gets Cold Reception at City Hall - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 7th, 2021
- Op Ed: We Oppose I-94 Expansion - Cassie Steiner, Gregg May, Megan Severson, Lester Williams and Cheryl Nenn - Nov 18th, 2020
- Op Ed: Don’t Expand I-94 - James Davies - Jul 18th, 2020
Read more about I-94 East-West Expansion here