Just Fix It Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial: I-94 East-West rebuild should be state’s top priority 4/5/2017

4/5/2017, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – You get what you pay for — a concept Republicans in the state Legislature seem not to understand.

Case in point: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said Wednesday that despite pressure from southeastern Wisconsin business leaders, he’s not interested in rebuilding a section of I-94 that runs through Milwaukee.

The reason: He wants to rebuild a section of I-94 that runs through his district.

“New projects shouldn’t begin in one region at the expense of the rest of southeast Wisconsin, and the delays on the I-94 N-S in Racine County have continued for far too long,” Vos said in a written statement. “We will not move forward on the East-West project unless the North-South is on track. Our state can’t afford to ignore a major section of our interstate system.”

Indeed, the state cannot afford to ignore a major section of “our interstate system.” Which is what Vos’ approach would do.

Fact is: Both sections need to be rebuilt. And that will, however unfortunate, cost taxpayers some money.

You get what you pay for.

Highways nearing the end of their useful lives are costly to the commerce that flows through the state — the lifeblood of business — and to driver safety.

Furthermore, following the expensive rebuilding of the major interchanges at each end of this stretch of freeway — the Marquette and the Zoo (now under construction) — it makes no sense to leave a bottleneck of an outdated freeway between them. The $1 billion rebuild of the east-west section of I-94 between the Marquette and Zoo interchanges should be a top priority for a state that the governor claims is “open for business.”

Otherwise, that claim rings pretty hollow.