Robbing rail to pay Hoan is a bridge to nowhere
Three things I’ve learned recently are: BP can’t fix an oil leak, LeBron James is a better self-promoter than the ShamWow guy and it’s never a good idea to rob Peter to pay Paul.
But the latter is exactly what state Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, and state Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, suggested yesterday when they sent a letter to federal officials asking that $250 million be diverted from the $810 million high-speed rail fund in order to fix the broken Hoan Bridge.
Yes, the surface of the Hoan Bridge is crumbling. Snow and salt have taken their toll on the 2-1/2-mile roadway leading into and out of Milwaukee. Concrete is breaking off the deck and 8-by-8-inch chunks have been found on Jones Island.
But the support structure, which was built in the mid-1970s, remains sound, according to WisDOT officials, and bids are out for more netting (there’s already some over the Summerfest grounds) to be placed over the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Treatment Plant.
Raiding money from one fund to help another is exactly what the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin was pushing to avoid back in May. The road builders’ association called for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would keep money earmarked for the transportation fund in, get this, the actual transportation fund (which, by the way, is currently facing an estimated $30 million hole).
Gov. Jim Doyle has transferred about $1.3 billion out of the state’s transportation fund during his terms. And there’s probably more pilfering on the horizon.
But, who knows? By then oil could stop spilling into the Gulf, LeBron will win a title with the Miami Heat and riders will look out the window of their high-speed train and see a shiny, new, smaller Hoan Lift Bridge.
Joe Yovino is the Web editor at The Daily Reporter. He’ll be watching tonight as James and Geraldo Rivera journey through Al Capone’s vault.