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Advocating for Sustainable Alternatives to the Expansion of I-94 in Milwaukee

Wisconsin transportation officials are proposing a controversial $1.1 billion dollar expansion of I-94 in Milwaukee. Midwest Environmental Advocates is advocating for a more just and sustainable alternative that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of people living adjacent to the corridor. 

ISSUE SUMMARY

The proposed expansion of I-94 and the construction of enormous interchanges will increase our dependence on cars, add to greenhouse gas emissions and cause disproportionate harm to Milwaukeeans of color. An alternative approach can make things better for all Milwaukee area residents.

The “Fix at Six” Alternative

MEA and other members of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation are advocating for a more just and sustainable alternative that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of people living adjacent to the corridor. 

Our “Fix at Six” alternative would:

  • repair and modernize the road, but keep the current six lanes
  • add additional bus rapid transit (BRT) access along the corridor
  • promote walking and biking infrastructure, particularly along the stadium freeway

Federal Civil Rights Investigation

In response to a complaint filed by MEA and other environmental advocacy groups, the Federal Highway Administration has launched a civil rights investigation into the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s plan to expand I-94 in Milwaukee.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by entities such as WisDOT that receive federal funding. The law prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also actions that have a disparate impact.

Our coalition has demonstrated how the plan to expand I-94 would lead to racially discriminatory impacts—including increased carbon emissions, air pollution, water pollution and flooding—on the Black and Hispanic communities near the interstate. With the federal government now undertaking a civil rights investigation into this plan, proceeding with the expansion would be inconsistent with the state’s obligation to uphold fundamental civil rights protections.

 

Learn more about our climate and energy work here.