We need a wider I-94

    I am the vice president of the Airport Gateway Business Association (AGBA), which manages the Airport Gateway Business Improvement District #40 (AGBID).  The AGBID has over 450 commercial property owners, and there are over 15,000 employees in the AGBA area.

    Also, my two brothers and I own three businesses on Milwaukee’s south side, one of which has been owned by our family for over 78 years. This blog is on behalf of those organizations and our family’s companies.

    On Dec. 11, Milwaukee’s Common Council passed a resolution to maintain the status quo of Interstate 94 having six traffic lanes from the Illinois border through the Mitchell interchange and to oppose the expansion to eight lanes as recommended by Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation.

    We strongly disagree with the council’s resolution and view it as extremely short-sighted with a provincial view vs. the 40-year impact of the full I-94 reconstruction project. 

    The Milwaukee 7 effort is focused on growing southeastern Wisconsin as an economic entity that increasingly meshes with greater Chicago. General Mitchell International Airport is forecasting the need for another runway and two terminal wings by 2021 to support increasing customer traffic.

    Additional growth is already occurring along the I-94 corridor to Illinois, and more is forecast. The AGBA, which includes many transportation-related and affected businesses, is working to promote the south side of Milwaukee County area as the Gateway to Milwaukee.

    For all of this growth to efficiently occur, car and truck traffic will need to flow well along I-94 and its ramps. Keeping I-94 as it has been for the last 40 years will increasingly obstruct this growth over the next 40 years.

    At the same time, however, we do support the council’s comments about the state and southeastern Wisconsin working together to develop a comprehensive plan regarding transportation in the area, to include the addition of the KRM (Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee) rail line. We believe that the City of Milwaukee can and should play a leading role in facilitating the development of such a plan.

    However, formally voting against expanding I-94 to eight lanes appears more of an obstruction approach vs. a leadership approach.

     

    Jaime Maliszewski is vice president of the Airport Gateway Business Association (AGBA) and is the president of Reliable Plating Works Inc. and GM Elite Finishing LLC, as well as a founding member of Brilliance LLC.

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