The ACLU of Wisconsin and other social and environmental justice organizations submitted comments Tuesday to federal and state transportation officials vehemently opposing the proposed expansion of Interstate 94 through Milwaukee due to the negative environmental and racial impacts the project would exacerbate.
The Coalition for More Responsible Transit, a group of community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government officials, including the ACLU of Wisconsin, MICAH, Sierra Club, Milwaukee Riverkeepers, and 1000 Friends, have been working together for years to fight this highway expansion.
“The I-94 expansion project is bad for Milwaukee and its residents. Not only would it harm Black and brown communities by worsening racial and economic segregation while failing to provide transit improvements that those communities need to benefit predominately white commuters, but it would also have detrimental effects on the environment, increasing pollution in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Karyn Rotker, senior attorney with the ACLU of Wisconsin.
“All of this for a ‘solution’ that data has shown does not even work long term. Studies show that new highways motivate more people to drive. In the case of I-94, constructing the eight-lane alternative would encourage people to drive an additional 33-49 million miles each year. Why should we waste millions of dollars on such a harmful highway expansion if it will make the very problem that proponents of the project want to solve even worse?”
“Racial equity is a special concern for MICAH, and it is what we find missing in the WISDOT proposed eight-lane expansion,” said Joyce Ellwanger, a member of Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH). “We support FixAtSix because it ensures that the needs of all citizens are addressed, whether they own a car or not, and advances bus rapid transit as a means of connecting people to jobs."