Rebuild I-94 in Milwaukee
It’s outdated and dangerous. And the project would create thousands of jobs.
We represent four unions with thousands of members who safely and responsibly work on essential infrastructure projects. Our union members built the Marquette and Zoo interchanges, and they are ready to get to work rebuilding the almost 60-year-old I-94 East-West Corridor. Improving this corridor is vital for the economies of the City of Milwaukee, Southeast Wisconsin, and the state.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our economy, but having a project like the I-94 East-West Corridor on the horizon will help with our economic recovery by delivering middle-class jobs. Shovels may not be in the ground for a few years, but this project will create good-paying, family-supporting jobs, many for residents of the City of Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates the job will require up to 3.8 million hours of on-site labor, with as many as 10,000 local skilled construction professionals doing work on the project. The wages earned by these men and women will bolster the economy and support local businesses.
The project will also deliver opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses. According to the National Association of Minority Contractors, Wisconsin Chapter, the I-94 East-West project is expected to deliver between $100,000,000 to $115,000,000 of contracts to these important businesses.
Transportation investment not only sustains and creates good-paying construction and industry jobs, but it also supports jobs across all sectors of the state’s economy. Improvements enhance economic competitiveness and generate economic development for decades by providing safe, efficient access to jobs, services, materials, and markets.
Wisconsin will only maximize its return on the outstanding work our members did on the Marquette and Zoo interchanges when the 3.5 miles of freeway connecting them is equally efficient and safe.
Our unions appreciate and understand that freeway and transit projects complement one another. Both are needed to reduce congestion, increase safety, and promote economic development. However, the funds for this project cannot be reallocated for transit or other local road construction.
The I-94 East-West was designed in the 1950s and built in the 1960s. It is no match for today’s demands. The corridor carries tens of thousands more vehicles a day than intended. Left-side ramps, narrow shoulders, short weaving distances, and other outdated features combined with congestion result in an average crash rate two to three times higher than the statewide urban freeway average and, at some points, more than four times higher. Meanwhile, crashes on reconstructed Southeast Wisconsin Interstate segments have been reduced by up to 45%.
Now is the time to finish the job and upgrade the I-94 East-West Corridor, which is outdated, congested, and unsafe. And we know just the men and women to do it.
John Raines, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, John Schmitt, President and Business Manager of the Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council, Terry McGowan, President and Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 and Tony Mayrhofer, Business Manager of the Iron Workers Local 8
- Op Ed: Expanded I-94 Will Damage Pigsville - Leland Pan - Jan 10th, 2022
- Transportation: Interstate 94 Project Cost Much Higher Than Original Estimate - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 10th, 2021
- Transportation: Public Input Sought on Controversial Interstate 94 Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 3rd, 2021
- Op Ed: Did I-94 End Milwaukee’s Population Growth? - David Jasenski - Sep 22nd, 2021
- Transportation: Plan Offers Alternative To Expanded I-94 - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 14th, 2021
- Statement from Mayor Barrett on the New Impact Review for the I-94 Project - Mayor Tom Barrett - Apr 15th, 2021
- Advocates applaud opportunity for public input on I-94 East-West project, but new environmental review process still needed - Press Release - Apr 15th, 2021
- Transportation: State Delaying Interstate 94 Expansion For New Study - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 15th, 2021
- Transportation: Freeway Expansion Opponents To Meet With Biden Administration - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 8th, 2021
- Op Ed: Evers Is Wrong on I-94 Expansion - John Norquist - Mar 16th, 2021
Read more about I-94 East-West Expansion here