|Posted on June 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM|
A Perfect Storm
by Allen Stasiewski
WEAL Transportation Team Leader
A Perfect Storm is brewing around highway funding, WisDOT and unnecessary road expansions such as the Waukesha West “Bypass.” This makes for an ideal time for WEAL and our partners, the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass, to file a lawsuit to stop this unnecessary road expansion once and for all.
Events occurring now and recently that have created these Perfect Storm conditions include:
· A legal victory by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin (which relied heavily on the precedent-setting Hwy J & WEAL ruling) that stopped the expansion of Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth due to the DOT’s use of unsupported, inflated traffic forecasts and population projections of 200% to “sell” the project.
· State highway funding shortfall and the reluctance of Republican legislators to borrow millions or to raise taxes to pay for continued highway expansions. (This is currently holding up passage of the state budget.)
· Increasing citizen pressure to scale back the billion-dollar I-94 expansion project.
· Citizen opposition to out-of-control highway spending while existing roads and bridges go unmaintained.
· Studies that show Millennials are more interested in public transportation and are less committed to vehicle ownership.
· An aging driving population.
· Driving is down overall and most notably in southeast Wisconsin.
· WisDOT dial-back of other road maintenance such as mowing and removal of animal carcasses.
· People are beginning to see that WisDOT's highway building binge is unsustainable, especially when juxtaposed with extreme funding cuts to public education, the UW System, the state parks system and DNR science.
Watch this website for upcoming news regarding the filing of the lawsuit.
Funding Needed to Fight
To put a silver stake through the heart of this “Bypass” Zombie, we’ll need money, plain and simple. The top notch Washington D.C . legal team we’ve hired won’t come cheaply. But they have experience in successfully challenging the Federal Highway Administration in other legal proceedings. And WEAL and our partners have experience in fighting off road expansions.
WEAL has committed $10,000 in a challenge grant and the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass has committed to raising $10,000 in matching funds. We're well on our way, but and we'll need to continue to raise funds raise to fight. Please join us in fighting this unneeded, poor excuse for a road expansion. All donations are welcome.
or by mail to:
PO Box 1532
Brookfield WI 53008
Over the past several years WEAL and our partners have done much to fight the “Bypass.”
· Created a Coalition of residents along the “Bypass” route as well as outside of the route.
· Created a Steering Team of active dedicated “Bypass” opponents.
· Testified at county, city and town board meetings.
· Testified at budget meetings and public hearings directly related to the “Bypass”, and others on general transportation funding and other proposed road projects.
· Read and reviewed hundreds of pages of impact statements.
· Wrote dozens of letters and sound-offs to the newspapers.
· Wrote detailed comments to both the Draft EIS and Final EIS as public input.
· Created a robust Facebook page packed with information.
· Printed and distributed No Bypass yard signs and T-shirts with the No Bypass logo.
· Organized several public rallies including a T-Shirt rally at Waukesha's Farmers market and a rally at the Waukesha County Courthouse (in the rain!) to coincide with a County Board meeting.
· Sent several hundreds of e-mails to Waukesha public officials, DOT officials, EPA officials and Federal Highway Administration over these past two years.
· Generated hundreds of signatures on petitions against the “Bypass”. Testified at county, city and town board meetings.