Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the transportation are the second largest contributor to climate change.Cars, airplanes and trucks also release harmful air pollution that is linked to asthma and other health conditions.
Spending billions on highways while shortchanging transit is bad for our environment and our health, and it simply doesn't meet our state's changing needs. Wisconsinites are driving 8.4% less as compared with 2007 and 27% of our state's population in 17 Wisconsin counties will be senior citizens by 2025. What's more, a 2012 study by US PIRG shows that young people are driving less and seeking to live in areas with quality, affordable transit.
We could easily afford increasing transit and funding for biking and walking paths without raiding general funds if we reduced runaway highway spending. Below are some current highway expansion proposals that deserve extra public scrutiny to reduce wasteful spending and ensure that citizen's needs are met.
The "Better Beltline" Project: WisDOT is currently considering spending millions of dollars on beltline upgrades. The study will be completed in 2015, and construction could begin in 2025. Could better transit, incuding commuter rail, be a more cost-effective option for reducing traffic and improving safety in Dane County? See more info from the Wisconsin State Journal, September 9, 2013 Meetings seek public input for potentially massive overhaul of Beltline
Add your thoughts on this project via WisDOT's online comment/questionnaire.
Stoughton Road (US Highway 51) Corridor Study: WisDot is currently examining alternatives to address the safety and congestion issues between McFarland and Deforest in Dane County. Public input is needed to avoid unnecessary construction and to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian access is preserved. WisDOT is currently considering 3 alternatives, Alternative A, Transportation System Management that maintains the current configuration as much as possible; Alternative B, Enhanced Expressway incorporates Alternative A and adds interchanges at intersections; or Alternative C - Freeway Conversion that provides free-flow movement for traffic through the corridor. A public hearing on the Draft EIS is anticipated in November 2013, with a Public Information Meeting to unveil the preferred alternative expected in January 2014. Comments on the Highway 51 project may be sent to Jeff Berens, WisDOT Project Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org; the US 51 Stoughton Rd. Study Team email@example.com, and Michael Bie, WisDOT Southwest Region Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoo Interchange Project: MEA and other groups have filed a lawsuit on this $1.7 billion expansion for failing to include any transit component. Submit your comments on the Zoo Interchange here.