Justin Notham Modern Woodmen

Letter to the Editor | Vote NO on new road to extend County Hwy W in Washington County | By Anne Wenninger Gehring

Jan. 7, 2019  – Washington Co., WI – I urge my fellow Washington County citizens to contact their County Supervisor TODAY and ask that they VOTE NO on a fiscally irresponsible resolution to amend Washington County’s Capital Improvement Plan that will cost Washington County tax payers approximately $2.5M.

The resolution proposes to create more than a half mile of new road to extend County Hwy W (CTH W) from State Hwy 175 (STH 175) to State Hwy 83 (STH 83) at a total ESTIMATED cost to tax payers of $2.1M. The ESTIMATED cost is based on a 30% engineering study, the actual cost to taxpayers could be far more. The proposal will be presented to the Washington County Board on Wednesday, January 9.

Please call or email your supervisor now! All County Supervisors’ contact information is at the end of this letter.

The proposal must be rejected for the following reasons:

  • It misappropriates money from the County’s long-term road repair funds.
  • It is a waste of tax payer dollars due to existing road infrastructure.
  • It will endanger motorists and other users of the roadways
  • It will destroy precious agricultural lands

 

Misappropriation of long-term road repair funds

County officials claim the amendment will have no net financial impact on the Capital Improvement Plan; this a FALSE statement. County officials plan to pay for the cost to construct the new road by robbing funds the County recently received from the State of Wisconsin when it agreed to take jurisdiction of the portion of STH 83 lying north of Hartford. The State paid the County $5M for this transfer because the state considered STH 83 to have wear and tear the county will need to repair in the future. The County has already allocated approximately half of this $5M for other purposes. Rather than save the remaining funds for road maintenance as was intended by the State, the County is proposing to misappropriate this money to construct a new and completely unneeded road.

 

Keep in mind this past August when the County Board authorized County Officials to borrow $10M to fund planned highway projects. The County Board approved this mortgage on our future with the full understanding that an additional $12M in borrowers will be needed to fund future planned highway projects.  The interest cost of this borrowing is estimated to be $3.78M-$4.55M. And yet instead of using the money the County received from the State of Wisconsin to pay for planned road projects it has to borrow to fund, it is asking the County Board to use the money to build a new road for which the County will have to borrow more money to maintain.

 

Unnecessary due to existing road infrastructure

County officials’ claim that an extension of County Hwy W is needed to improve mobility is FALSE.  There are already two existing county highways, County Highways K and S (CTHs K and S), within one mile of each other connecting State Highways 175 and 83. Extensive renovations will be made to CTH K this coming summer at a cost of approximately $5M. Renovations to CTH S have also been proposed. And would be appropriate. These improvements to our existing road infrastructure are sufficient to support the County’s mobility needs.

Further, an extension of CTH W will result in three county highways connecting the same two state highways within half mile of each other. The County has conducted absolutely no studies, has no data, nor has it received any recommendations from the state or any other authority to support its contention that an extension of County Hwy W is needed to improve mobility.  Further, its traffic counts reflect very minimal use of these roads. Clearly the County’s proposal to extend CTH W is a completely unnecessary and wasteful use of taxpayer’s tax dollars.

Endanger motorists and other users of the roadway

County officials’ claims that extending CTH W is necessary to improve the safety of the area roads is FALSE. By extending CTH W the County will create two new intersections creating additional opportunities for vehicles to collide. The County relies on accident reports to support its contention that extending CTH is necessary to improve safety but offers no studies or data to support its contention that the creation of two new intersections will improve safety and not actually increase the number of vehicle collisions in this area..

Also, extending CTH W will encourage additional traffic into downtown Allenton, an already congested commercial area that includes an active rail crossing. Why encourage vehicles to use this route when existing CTH K is a far safer route to Allenton via Highway 41, which avoids this commercial bottleneck and safely transports vehicles over the railroad via a bridge? Increased traffic in this area also poses risk of harm to other users enjoying these area roads including bikers, joggers and farm equipment operators.

Destruction of agricultural lands

Finally, Washington County’s agricultural land is a non-renewable resource. Once this land is gone it can never be restored. Constructing an unneeded road is a foolish use of our precious finite agricultural land resources.

Contact your County Supervisor

If you agree the county should not waste $2.1M of tax payer dollars (only an estimate) by constructing a new road over valuable agricultural land, please contact your County Supervisor and ask them to oppose the resolution to amend Washington County’s Capital Improvement Plan on Wednesday, January 9th.

Thank you,

Anne Wenninger Gehring

County Supervisor Contact Information obtained from: http://www.co.washington.wi.us/departments.iml?mdl=departments.mdl&ID=CBD

Name                                                Phone                                   Email

Kris Deiss                             262-323-1542              [email protected]

Roger Kist                             414-550-2755              [email protected],

Christopher Bossert              262-404-5158              [email protected]

Chris Jenkins                        262-707-3959              [email protected]

Michael Bassill                     414-378-3647              [email protected]

Denis Kelling                        262-305-2678              [email protected]

Brian Krebs                          262-305-5224              [email protected]

Dick Bertram                        262-355-5111              [email protected]

William Symicek                  262-622-3385              [email protected]

Keith Stephan                       262-438-4108              [email protected]

Frank Carr                            414-526-6030              [email protected]

Joe Gonnering                      262-675-2681 or         [email protected]

262-689-5345

Robert Hartwig                     414-313-7514              [email protected]

Marcy Bishop                       262-677-2662              [email protected]

Marilyn Merten                     262-677-2597              [email protected]

Russell Brandt                      262-644-8854              [email protected]

Tim Michalak                       262-670-1119              [email protected]

James Burg                           262-339-7690              [email protected]ngton.wi.us

John Bulawa             414-531-6479              [email protected]

Mark McCune                       262-844-2018              [email protected]

Don Kriefall                         414-803-3488              [email protected]

Rock Brandner                     262-628-1665  or         [email protected]

920-860-1592

Brian Gallitz                         262-790-3199              [email protected]

Peter Sorce                            262-253-0561              [email protected]

Jeffrey Scheif                       262-253-0976              [email protected]

Carroll Merry                        262-253-6902              [email protected]

 

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