Stop Excessive Freeway Expansion

The state Department of Transportation has submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the I-94 corridor east of 76th street. The Wauwatosa Common Council is on record as opposing the planned expansion and reduction of Wauwatosa exits. 

Dianne Dagelen, a member of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation, offered testimony at the Wauwatosa Transportation Affairs Committee that nicely summarizes the objections to the DOT's plan. It is available below.

We encourage you to offer you comments to DOT. Comments on the Final EIS must be received or postmarked by March 14, 2016. Comments may be mailed to Jason Lynch, WisDOT 141 N.W. Barstow St., Waukesha, WI 53187 or emailed to [email protected].


From Dianne Dagelen

Wis DOT has submitted their final EIS on the I-94 Corridor.  Contrary to the Wauwatosa Resolution passed unanimously by the Wauwatosa Common Council on October 6th, their plan is to add an extra lane in each direction and to take out half of the Hawley Road ramps.  This will be a waste of taxpayer money for an expansion that residents do not want or need, and will put semi-trailers on N. 68th St. going to State St. deliveries.  In addition, DOT's plan fails to include any transit option that would serve both our younger and senior populations.  I urge you to send your Comments to WisDOT.  

Below is my presentation to the Traffic Affairs Committee last summer with the rationale as to why the Corridor should not be expanded.  Thank you.

My name is Dianne Dagelen.  I live at 8444 Hill St. in Wauwatosa where I have been a resident since 1976.

Thank you for inviting us to speak to you tonight.

I’m a member of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation which consists of more than 25 local and state-wide faith-based, environmental, health, business and community groups, and neighborhood associations. 

We agree with WisDOT that the I-94 Corridor between 17th and 70th Streets needs to be rebuilt.  Its infrastructure is failing.  We agree that safety improvements are needed, such as moving exits from the left to right lane, etching pavement and lengthening ramps. 

However, we do not agree on how these goals of reconstruction and safety should be met, or on how much taxpayers should pay for them.

WisDOT proposes expanding the 3.5mile Corridor to 4 lanes in each direction at a cost of $850 million.  Much of this amount will come from borrowing at unsustainable levels.  With debt the fastest-growing portion of the state’s transportation budget, these obligations will be paid off on the backs of our children and our grandchildren.   The Coalition proposes maintaining 3 lanes each way in the current footprint plus spot safety improvements, at a cost (that WisDOT reported to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) of only $400 million

WisDOT proposes removing the eastern half of the Hawley Rd. ramps—even though they report receiving overwhelming input from stake-holders to maintain all-ramp access.  Residents along 68th St. would have to absorb Hawley Rd. semi- trailers hauling goods for Pik‘NSave and Sentry Foods on State St.  The neighborhood, including Hunger Task Force, would lose ramp access to and from downtown.  Our Coalition proposes retaining all Hawley Rd ramps by maintaining 6 lanes instead of 8 lanes, which is the only way that this retention is possible.

WisDOT proposes that increasing lanes is necessary to adequately address their projected daily traffic increase and its accompanying congestion.  They predict that I-94 Corridor traffic will increase at 0.5% during the next 28 years, or at 23% by 2040.   But that’s unlikely to happen.  On the contrary, DOT’s own records show that between 2000 and 2012, ADT steadily decreased by 8%.  This is a national as well as a local and state-wide trend. 

The traffic decline is due to changes in demographics, the way people live, work and choose to get around.   For example, baby boomers, now retiring in record numbers, and those who increasingly work from home or take college courses on line, or shop on the internet use their cars less than before.  With driving in decline, the expansion of I-94 is not necessary.  And it is not the best use of our tax payers’ money.

Hundreds of Comments were collected by WisDOT during their open house planning and listening sessions over more than a two year period, including formal Public Hearings.   Of those comments, more than 80% were opposed to any expansion of the I-94 Corridor, be it with a double deck or by adding extra lanes.  Furthermore, both the city of Milwaukee Common Council and the Board of Milwaukee County Supervisors have passed Resolutions opposing additional lanes, similar to the Resolution before you tonight.

In addition to not expanding the I-94 Corridor, our Coalition proposes that WisDOT include a transit system parallel to I-94 to accommodate those without access to automobiles, connecting them to major economic and activity centers such as Mayfair Mall, the Regional Medical Center and downtown Milwaukee.  This new transit system paralleling the I-94 Corridor could be built well within the remaining $450 million saved by not expanding the corridor to four lanes.

In Wauwatosa, those without cars are primarily seniors.  Many seniors need transit for their basic living needs, for their safety (since many drive beyond when they are able to), and to avoid isolation which impairs their quality of life.    (13,347 Tosa senior respondents)

In Wauwatosa, according to the 2010 US Census, more than 18% are over 65 years of age; and 28.8% of our citizens are over 55—soon to join those over 65.   In 2008, the Wauwatosa Senior Commission, of which I am a member, completed a Senior Transportation Assessment for Tosa residents over 55.  It identified that 28.6% of respondents no longer drive their automobiles.  Of those who did drive a car, 21% did so only when no one else was available to drive them, with more than two thirds of those finding it “difficult” to find a driver when needed.  And 44% of senior drivers stated that they “worry about driving safely”. 


So why do seniors continue to drive when they no longer should?  It’s not that they like to “live on the edge”.  It’s because they find no other viable options for them to get around: to medical apts., to shop, to be with friends.  And for seniors to not be connected with their community is to become isolated -- a fear worse than a car accident.  Understandably, the Wauwatosa Senior Commission Transportation Assessment’s top recommendation was to increase access to transportation services, including the option of public transit. 

Our Coalition for More Responsible Transportation has put together a draft conceptual transit option plan for a bus rapid transit system running parallel to the I-94 Corridor.  It could include infrastructure for traffic light control technology.  The projected cost would be between $120-180 million.  So to re-build the Corridor as is and to add a transit option would cost between $470-530 million.  A lot less than $850 million.  The dollars saved could better be used to repair local roads.

In Summary:

  1. Re-build the I-94 Corridor w/ safety improvements, but without adding lanes.
  2. Repair local roads. 
  3. Provide a transit option. 
  4. Save taxpayers’ money.         

Thank you.

Dianne Dagelen


Wauwatosa Common Council passed the resolution unanimously Oct 6, 2015.


Urgent: Water Privatization Bill Up for Vote Feb. 16

[Courtesy announcement from our friends at the AFL-CIO]

We’ve just learned that the Senate has made a last minute, late in the day addition to the Senate calendar for tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16, adding in a vote on the Fast Path to Water Privatization Bill (AB 554) – a bill that will impact each and every Wisconsinite, young and old.

Don’t delay, take action now.

Right now, we need to sound the alarm so that private companies don’t mess with our municipal water systems without democratic input from local citizens. Contact your Senator ASAP and let them know you oppose the Fast Path to Water Privatization Bill.

In Flint, Michigan we’ve seen the toxic consequences of trying to cut costs in providing safe drinking water. The Fast Path to Water Privatization Bill paves the way for corporate control of Wisconsin’s municipal water services by eliminating the required referendum for local citizen input.

Make no mistake, this bill is the first step in selling off our water to the highest bidder. 

The bill was quietly introduced at the request of Aqua America, a private water company that has been charged with hundreds of complaints of mismanaging the delivery of clean water across America.

Don’t delay. Contact your Senator immediately and tell them to keep our public water systems out of the hands of private companies.

In Solidarity,

Phil Neuenfeldt, President

Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer 


Education Action Alert: School leaders call for action before Assembly vote this week

[A courtesy announcement from our friends at Wisconsin Pubic Education Network]

Dear friends of Wisconsin public schools,

After reading the latest action alerts today from our friends at the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the School Administrators Alliance, I thought it best to put out one more call to action before everyone heads to the polls on Tuesday while the Assembly takes to the floor for debate and final votes of the session.  Many of these items relate to public schools, and will be voted on before the Assembly adjourns for the session this week.

WASB has posted this really helpful list of all the education-related bills that are on the Assembly agenda for tomorrow, including AB 751, which was passed with a non-germane amendment which "would reduce the revenue limit authority of the 142 public school districts that currently have resident pupils participating in the statewide and Racine voucher programs by $14.2 million annually. This revenue limit authority protects the affected school districts against the loss of state aid that follows resident pupils to the voucher school."

SAA has put out a priority action alert, writing:

it is extremely important to our efforts at stopping this bill that Assembly Representatives feel very uncomfortable over this vote.  Therefore, I’m asking you to contact your Assembly Representatives one more time on this issue.

Once again, here is the bottom line on AB 751 as amended: if your district has resident students in the statewide or Racine voucher programs, under this amendment, you will lose revenue limit authority and you will likely have to pay for your voucher students by reducing educational opportunities for the children that remain in your district.

WEAC has also outlined the impacts of this bill, and launched a Cyberlobby effort to make it easy for educators and other public school advocates to take action on this important issue.

School leaders, board members, and educators all over the state are sending letters and making phone calls to their Assembly reps to send a simple message:

  • Any change to the funding formula for Wisconsin schools deserves a fair hearing and full analysis by experts and school officials.
  • Funding private school tuition vouchers by taking money out of public school classrooms betrays the promise legislators made last summer that the voucher expansion would not hurt public school children.
  • Legislators should follow their own rules and reject any non-germane amendments that change the intent of a bill. If legislators propose NEW amendments  on the floor, these should not be passed without opportunity to be fully vetted by those who know and care most about our schools, and those who know best what their fiscal impact will be on districts and taxpayers.

Let's make sure the voices of parents, business leaders, and other community members are also heard at the Capitol!  When we all stand together to support our schools, we can make a difference!



Forum on Islam

On Thursday, November 19, 2015, Grassroots Tosa sponsored a Forum on the Religion of Islam at the Wauwatosa Library.  Ms. Janan Najeeb, President of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, explained the history and principles of Islam and its role in the world today.  Close to 200 people attended.

Below is a link to the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition website.

And here is a link to an article about the forum:


Grassroots Tosa Endorsements for April 7 election

Grassroots Tosa has the following recommendations for the April 7 Elections

Supreme Court Justice: Ann Walsh Bradley

Supreme Court Referendum: Vote NO

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Eddie Cullen

Read more

Vote No on Supreme Court Referendum

Be sure to examine your ballot to find the referendum regarding he selection of the State Supreme Court Justice.

This referendum is a naked attempt to overturn decades of tradition and enhance extremist influence on the Supreme Court. It is a direct attack on Shirley Abrahamson, who, by virtue of her devotion to the rule of law, is detested by those who think the Supreme Court should serve the rule of politics -- THEIR politics.

The extreme right wing has managed to capture the legislature and the governorship. WE can't let them dominate the third branch of government, as well.

Vote NO!!

Read Bert Brandenburg's Proposed amendment would take power from the people in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Grassroot Tosa Endorses Eddie Cullen for County Supervisor

Based on his responses to our candidate questionnaire, GRT is endorsing Eddie Cullen for County Supervisor.

Eddie Cullen represents the progressive values we need in our county government. 

You can read more about Eddie at his website.


2015-17 Budget at a Glance

Gov. Walker’s fiscally irresponsible “Cut and Borrow” policies are preventing economic growth and holding Wisconsin families back. With a self-inflicted $2.2 billion budget deficit, a lagging economy and stagnant family wages, we need more effective solutions to invest in our communities and build a brighter future.

 As we work to responsibly balance the state budget, Democrats want to put Wisconsin families first and increase economic opportunities by strengthening our schools, investing in infrastructure and creating quality jobs.

Read more

Justice Bradley yard signs available

We need to keep Ann Walsh Bradley on the Supreme Court!

I have yard signs. Let me know if you'd like one (or more).

You can contact me at [email protected]

Read more

Elect Ann Walsh Bradley to the Supreme Court April 7

Will it be their dollars or our votes?

We're counting on progressive Tosans to vote for Ann Walsh Bradley of course, but we need something more:

Make sure your family, friends and neighbors vote, too!

Read more

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