Hunger Task Force protests proposed I-94 expansion

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by Priscilla Luong

MILWAUKEE-- Protesters from the Hunger Task Force Up in arms over a proposed project on I-94.  Demonstrators gathered outside Marquette University High School as WisDOT held a public meeting on the project.

"I think it's more important to end hunger in Wisconsin than to build a freeway," said Sherri Tussler, Director of the Hunger Task Force.

Demonstrators voiced their opposition toward all three options in the expansion project.  Two construction options would shut down the Hawley Road exit, where the headquarters is located.

"How will they get to the Hunger Task Force if the ramp is closed?" said Tussler.

The only option that would keep the hawley ramp open-- creating a double decker highway.  Task force members say this option would no longer make them visible from I-94.  The option could cost up to $1.2 Billion. 

"It's a billion dollar boondoggle," said Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).

Rep. Goyke says he'd rather see funds go toward public transportation.

"My community needs better transit options, they're not getting them," he said.

As the community reviewed design options WisDOT officials emphasize re-paving I-94 won't cut it this time.

"We can't use that bandaid approach anymore," said Brian Bliesner, Project Development Chief at WisDOT.

Officials say the East-West corridor between the Marquette and Zoo Interchange, was built in the early 1960's-- safety standards have changed since then.

"There's definitely a modernization aspect to this project that is very vital," said Bliesner. 

Hunger Task Force says this change could affect how they deliver food to hungry families.

"It's going to add as much as $40,000 to our annual operating budget, which the DOT says they will not support," said Tussler.

WisDOT says the I-94 is still in an exploratory phase, officials do not expect to begin work until 2019.  More public meetings on the project are being planned for later this year.


 

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