A letter from a friend:
In these times of budget crisis, the state of Wisconsin wants to spend $20 million to build a brand new interchange out at Pabst Farms in Waukesha County. For those who don't know, Pabst Farms is an isolated, sprawling, high-priced development, with little transit access or affordable housing. Yet our state is looking to reward Pabst Farms with an interchange so it can attract a developer to build a shopping mall.
For this to go forward, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) has to change its Transportation Improvement Plan to give priority to the new interchange.
SEWRPC is taking Public Comments until Mon. 10/29.
PLEASE SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS!
It's easy - below and attached are comments with (an unfortunately long list of) paragraphs outlining concerns that you can use as a whole, or pick and choose from (or include your own thoughts also!).
Just click on TIP@sewrpc.org and add in what you think is important. Regional planners and the state need to hear that we want money for sustainable development and fair transit, not for urban sprawl. And please share this with others concerned about these issues.
Comments can be emailed by 10/29 to SEWRPC at TIP@sewrpc.org (or use the mailing address if you'd prefer; it's below - comments must be received by 10/29).
Poverty Race and Civil Liberties Project Attorney
Sample letter and address to send your comments to!
P.O. Box 1607
Waukesha, WI 53187-1607
RE: NO NEW INTERCHANGE AT PABST FARMS (I-94/HWY P)
I object to SEWRPC or the state of Wisconsin proceeding with any effort to develop or build an interchange at Pabst Farms (Hwy. P), and amending the TIP to include the interchange for the following reasons:
NEED TO PRIORITIZE TRANSIT: The state should not be spending millions of dollars for a highway interchange - while failing to adequately fund sustainable regional public transportation. The regional transportation plan states that it is necessary to INCREASE transit at the same rate as highway construction - but while this TIP amendment would expand highways, transit systems in both Waukesha and Milwaukee County are being threatened with cutbacks and/or fare increases. No interchange should move forward if transit is not moving forward.
NEED TO PRIORITIZE DEVELOPMENT THAT BENEFITS WISCONSIN'S UNDERSERVED RESIDENTS: Our tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the wealthy at the expense of poor and working class residents. Good development has a real benefit to the community and includes connections to quality family supporting jobs for the underutilized labor force, transit to catalytic projects from underserved communities, and affordable housing so that people who work in an area can afford to live there. The Past Farm project fails to meet any of these standards and therefore should not receive public support.
NEED TO STOP AIR POLLUTION & GLOBAL WARMING: Assisting in building a huge mall or retail development in rural Waukesha County is wrong - because that kind of development will generate huge volumes of new vehicular traffic. Those kinds of effects need to be taken seriously and studied before allowing the interchange to proceed.
NEED TO STOP URBAN SPRAWL: A big shopping mall in the Pabst Farms area will turn Oconomowoc into another sprawl development. Why locate a huge retail development and these jobs out in this rural area, far from the people who need and could fill these jobs, especially when the surrounding community has excluded workforce housing. These are serious effects that need to be studied before allowing the interchange to move forward.
NEED TO SAVE FARMLAND: Wisconsin's agricultural economy is being threatened by ill- advised development on the some of the world best agricultural soils. A mall is a short-term investment that will cause permanent damage to our farm economy.
NEED TO CONDUCT SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDIES: Waukesha is already unable to sustain its growth and faces a serious water shortage. Yet, we are ready to spend taxpayer dollars on a project in Oconomowoc without adequately considering the environmental impacts. There hasn't been a current or meaningful Environmental Impact Analysis of this proposal. The evidence shows that without the interchange there won't be a mall or large retail development - there needs to be an environmental analysis of ALL the consequences of the Pabst Farms Mall or retail development before the interchange is allowed to proceed.
NEED TO SUPPORT TAXPAYERS: Spending millions of dollars in public money for an interchange that will primarily benefit a private mall developer doesn't help Wisconsin taxpayers and shouldn't be the goal for public investment. This is not wise use of taxpayer dollars and shouldn't be allowed to proceed.
NEED FOR MEANINGFUL PUBLIC INPUT: The taxpayer money spent on the Past Farm interchange comes from all of our pockets, not just from residents of Oconomowoc. Opportunities for meaningful public input, including input from low income and minority communities, should be created before this proposal is allowed to proceed.
City:_____________________________, WI Zip:________________
Organization (if any):____________________