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E-M:/ Free Press: Go Slowly on I-94 Widening Plan

I am forwarding this message from
 Kelly Thayer, Michigan Land Use Institute

One caveat - either  the  842 million is way high for the "enhanced no build" option or the $1.3 billion estimate is way low for the full 24 lane expansion.  Also the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is curiously silent that this expansion is only phase one.  MDOT has similar plans for I-94 all the way from Wyoming Ave on Detroit's west side to I- 696 in Macomb County. What would the price tag for phases 2 and 3 be?

JUst to keep you on your toes, MDOT doesn't think there are enough environmental impacts on the proposed widening of I-75 in Oakland County to warrant a full EIS there either.
Karen Kendrick-Hands

Free Press: Go Slowly on I-94 Widening Plan

The Free Press today has an editorial praising the extension of the public comment period for the $1.3 billion I-94 widening in Detroit. And the editorial calls for MDOT to go slowly in making a decision on the project, to allow on-going transit plans in Southeast Michigan to be completed.

I have two points to make about the I-94 project:
1. Kudos to Coalition member Transportation Riders United for leading the networking effort with other groups on the I-94 project. The effort succeeded in gaining Sen. Carl Levin's help in calling for an extension of the public comment period.

2. If you're not in Detroit and you're wondering why this all matters to you, consider this: MDOT wants to spend $1.3 billion on this 7-mile widening. That amount of money could build regional rapid-bus or rail systems in up to 10 metro areas. There's plenty of cash for transit in Michigan, if MDOT would stop pouring it into new and wider roads.


Detroit Free Press editorial:
I-94 Remake
Longer comment period can help build better plan
April 5, 2001

The Michigan Department of Transportation has wisely extended the comment period on a more than $1-billion plan to rebuild and widen I-94 in Detroit.

MDOT wants to widen I-94, from I-96 to Conner, from six lanes to eight, add auxiliary lanes and service drives, and redo inadequate interchanges at the Lodge and I-75. Estimated cost: nearly $1.3 billion.

At a bare minimum, the 45-year-old freeway must be rebuilt. That alone would cost an estimated $842 million -- almost a half billion less.

But MDOT argues that I-94 needs the added investment of widening to handle future traffic loads, including more truck traffic.

Opponents of widening, citing I-696 as proof, say trying to build out of congestion is not only costly but often futile. Instead, they want more money funneled into mass transit -- buses and light rail -- that would alleviate traffic.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will release a regional transit plan in October. That should show to what extent -- if any -- mass transit can ease traffic on
I-94. Until then, it makes sense to delay any final decision on plans for the seven miles of freeway.

Citizens can express their views by contacting the Michigan Department of Transportation:
Jose Lopez, public hearings officer, MDOT,
P.O. Box 30050, Lansing 48909; by e-mail:
lopezjos@mdot.state.mi.us; or fax: 517-373-9255.

Gov. John Engler's office can be contacted at P.O. Box 30013, Lansing 48909; phone: 517-335-7858; e-mail: follow "Contact the Governor" prompt at www.migov.state.mi.us.

Write to your state representative at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing 48909. Write to your senator at P.O. Box 30036, Lansing 48909.


*For information Michigan Transportation & Land Use Coalition membership and top priorities, go to

Mr. Kelly Thayer
Transportation Project Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute
P.O. Box 228
845 Michigan Ave.
Benzonia, MI 49616

Ph: 231-882-4723
Fax: 231-882-7350
E-mail: kelly@mlui.org

Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, President
Transportation Riders United
1067 Devonshire Road
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
313.885.7588, fax 313.885.7883
Check out TRU's web page at http://www.marp.org/tru.htm
Try the Motranzit site, too - http://www.hometown.aol.com/motranzit
Also check out www.transitdetroit.freeservers.com &
If you don't ask the right questions, you will never get to the right answers . . .