Coalition urges local infrastructure over I-94 expansion
The Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) said the highway expansion would only take needed funding away from localities. The proposed expansion by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) would cost an estimated $850 million. The department has projected that traffic will increase in the proposed area.
“Wisconsin needs a responsible transportation budget,” Sierra Club John Muir Chapter Member Elizabeth Ward said. “We should be sure to invest our limited transportation funds in the most critical priorities while looking for savings wherever possible. And we have to take a particularly hard look at multibillion-dollar investments in major highway expansion projects, especially since Wisconsinites are driving less."
Federal funding recently was denied by a federal court for an expansion project of Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth. The judge found that WIsDOT had used inaccurate traffic projections to justify the expansion, which was estimated at $146 million.
“Highway spending has increased at the cost of local roads. The state has been dramatically increasing spending on highway expansion by taking away the reimbursements that had been promised to communities for local road repair,” 1000 Friends of Wisconsin Executive Director Steve Hiniker said.
A report drafted by the coalition states that scaling back on four expansion projects that they feel are questionable would save taxpayers approximately $500 million over the next two years or that amount could be used to fund road repairs and limit the state's reliance on bonding.