Ald. Bob Bauman
Press Release

Ald. Bauman introduces resolution directing the City to lobby against I-94 reconstruction


By - Jan 21st, 2021 04:12 pm

4th District Alderman Robert J. Bauman has introduced a resolution (file #201313) that would direct the Department of Administration-Intergovernmental Relations Division to lobby the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to deny the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) request for a new Record of Decision relating to reconstruction and modernization of Interstate 94 between 16th Street and 70th Street. Governor Tony Evers previously announced in July 2020 that he would be seeking federal approval for the rebuilding of I-94 along the 3.5 mile stretch. If approved by the FHWA, a new Record of Decision would greenlight the project, which is expected to cost more than $1 billion.

“The State of Wisconsin’s transportation spending priorities are completely out of balance, and the necessity of this project is questionable at best,” said Alderman Bauman. “Additionally, the transparency being shown by the WisDOT is appalling. They are asking the FHWA to approve the project by relying on the background traffic and environmental-impact studies that were conducted nearly 5 years ago. Those items are out-of-date and no longer relevant to a current analysis of the project.”

“Moreover, circumventing the environmental-impact study process would mean public hearings and a formal record of comments would not exist. In their place would be virtual information sessions that would shut many residents out of the process,” Alderman Bauman continued. “In no way should this be an acceptable practice for a project of this magnitude.”

Since 2016 when the initial background work was conducted, travel volumes, commuting patterns, employment levels, economic activity and land uses in the Interstate 94 corridor have all changed significantly. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) found that American households made fewer commuting trips than at any time since 1990. In October 2020, USDOT reported that travel on all roads and streets was down 8.8% nationally (and 10.4% in the North Central region) from the year prior. The consulting firm KPMG forecasts that vehicle miles traveled will settle at about 90% of pre-2020 levels in coming years.

“When you consider all of this information, it adds up to a project that is being handled poorly, and in the end will only harm the residents who aren’t properly involved in the process,” said Alderman Bauman.

The file will be heard at an upcoming meeting of the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee.

3 thoughts on “Ald. Bauman introduces resolution directing the City to lobby against I-94 reconstruction”

  1. Jeffjay60 says:

    This boondogy is another expression of the “how-to keep the contractor’s happy” atmosphere at DOT. Why do they do this? Because they can. Thank you, Alderman Bauman.

  2. Dennis Grzezinski says:

    Thank you, Alderman Bauman! The City of Wauwatosa, and Milwaukee County, should pass similar resolutions.

  3. rbeverly132 says:

    Thank you Alderman Bauman! Now will someone at the County level issue a similar resolution aimed at the expansion of I43 from Silver Spring Drive to Hwy 60 in Grafton? The case against this Full Employment Act for the Highway Lobby is even more valid.

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