February 12, 2015

Milwaukee Riverkeeper submitted comments to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the reconstruction of I-94 between 70th and 16th Streets. Our biggest concerns are that: the DEIS only considered expansion options (e.g. at grade or “double decker” options with differing alignments); did not consider transit options; failed to fully consider environmental justice impacts of highway expansion; and failed to adequately consider the direct, indirect, and cummulative impacts of this project on water quality and the environment, especially in combination with other projects at the Zoo and Marquette Interchanges.

The DEIS does state that impervious surfaces would increase by 11-22% as part of the West Segment Alternatives (west of Miller Park) and by 67-91% as part of the East Segment Alternatives (east of Miller Park)! This increase in impervious surfaces will increase stormwater runoff that will likely impact flood risk and water quality of the Menomonee River, as well as combined sewer capacity (stormwater east of 38th will likely go to the combined sewer).

Riverkeeper is also a member of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) Coalition, which is composed of more than 25 organizations representing local and state non-profits, businesses, faith, environmental, and justice organizations that are building a public case against WisDOT’s proposed highway expansion. We are advocating for reconstruction and spot improvements of the highway in its existing footprint, and believe that expansion of I-94 is a project that the community does not want, need and cannot afford.