Coalition for More Responsible Transportation
Press Release

Advocates oppose expansion announcement of I-94 East-West project

Coalition condemn WisDOT’s decision to select the eight-lane expansion as the preferred alternative; more needs to be done to improve walking, biking, and transit in Milwaukee

By - Nov 11th, 2022 12:11 pm

MILWAUKEE – On November 11th, WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson announced that the state selected an eight-lane expansion as the preferred alternative for the I-94 East-West project. The Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) strongly opposes this selection, which will perpetuate the negative impacts of highway expansions on Communities of Color, will make it even harder to reach our climate change goals, and will not reverse decades of disinvestment in public transportation, walking and biking infrastructure in Milwaukee.

CMRT continues to advocate for the Fix at Six plan, which would shift investments to more pressing transportation needs, which would better meet the current and future needs of Milwaukeans and Wisconsinites. Fix at Six would address the safety and operational concerns of the corridor but, rather than expanding it, it would invest in more pressing transportation needs such as road repair and bus rapid transit (BRT) expansion along National Avenue and 27th Street.

Members of this coalition released the following statements:

“MICAH is a non-profit association of inner-city congregations with a faith commitment to social justice. Its work includes an effort to connect its congregation and community members—mostly people of color—and enable them to access employment,” said Lisa Jones, Executive Director and Lead Organizer at Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH). “In that vein, MICAH has long advocated against urban highways that have divided and burdened inner-city Milwaukee. We support the Fix at Six alternative as an equitable way forward for the I-94 reconstruction.”

“The proposed I-94 highway expansion would increase polluted stormwater runoff to the Menomonee River and several creeks to the west and increase flow to the combined sewers to the east, adding to the likelihood of sewage overflows during severe wet weather,” said Cheryl Nenn, Riverkeeper for Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “We need the Fix at Six alternative, which would  reconstruct the highway in the existing footprint. We also need more funding for stormwater management and protection of natural areas and waterways in this highway corridor–not to further degrade them.”

“WisDOT’s preferred alternative expands the highway corridor by 42 to 49 acres,” said environmental attorney Dennis Grzezinski. “The last thing that Milwaukee needs is a lot more impervious surface, which will only increase existing flooding problems.”

“An eight-lane expansion would exacerbate environmental injustice by encouraging more polluting traffic, degrading air quality, contributing to climate change and trapping more heat in the central part of the city,” said Tony Wilkin Gibart, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates.

“It is a mistake to be expanding highways in Milwaukee while MCTS faces an upcoming fiscal cliff,”  said Gregg May, Transportation Policy Director for 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. “To consider committing more than a billion dollars to an expansion project like this, which will divert funds away from crumbling local infrastructure, and disproportionately impact people of color — is dangerous and irresponsible. We implore WisDOT to reconsider expansion and to explore long-term transit funding opportunities and to use remediation dollars to fund BRT capital expansion projects along National Avenue and 27th Street.”

“It is unacceptable that WISDOT has ignored the calls of thousands of Wisconsinites to fix the highway at six lanes and instead decided to move forward with an eight-lane proposal,” stated Elizabeth Ward, Director of Sierra Club Wisconsin Chapter, “this proposal will increase water and climate pollution, health problems, racial disparities, and more. WISDOT needs to reconsider and move forward with a Fix at Six solution.”

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Coalition for More Responsible Transportation

Advocates oppose expansion announcement of I-94 East-West project

Coalition condemn WisDOT’s decision to select the eight-lane expansion as the preferred alternative; more needs to be done to improve walking, biking, and transit in Milwaukee

Coalition Renews Call for Fix At Six Solution for I-94 in Milwaukee

Press conference features elected officials, activists and impacted neighbors

Statement: State transportation budget is most harmful in a decade

Transportation advocates condemn unprecedented cuts to Milwaukee and Madison transit systems while green-lighting the unnecessary I-94 E/W highway expansion project

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us