By Jason Stein and Patrick Marley
The state should start designing a major new project on I-94 west of Milwaukee even as work on another section of I-94 and the Zoo Interchange is delayed for lack of funds, Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday.
In a series of four events that began alongside I-39/90 south of Madison, Walker plunged ahead with his no-new-gas-tax pledge, betting his next budget on his belief that voters prefer delays on some major projects to pennies more at the pump per gallon.
The GOP governor touted his plan to boost money for road maintenance and state road aid to local governments while delaying completion of the Zoo’s north leg until 2022 and further delaying the section of I-94 south of Milwaukee. At the same time, Walker said it made sense to start planning for a major reconstruction on I-94 west of downtown Milwaukee, even though those two other mega-projects are in limbo for lack of funds.
“We’re trying to be cognizant of the fact that we’re going to have to make choices in the future as to not only whether we do (the I-94 east-west project) but in what form. Is it in the current form in terms of lanes or is it a greater (number of) lanes?” Walker told reporters.
The proposal from Walker’s Department of Transportation is being welcomed by conservatives but is meeting resistance from some of his fellow Republicans in the Legislature.
“It’s not going to fly,” said state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).