It doesn't take long to discover that Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is more than willing to use slippery rhetoric to position himself on all sides of any given issue. It has gotten to the point where you can simply fill in the blank on issues that he has been both for and against. Clearly, he will say and do anything to get a vote and win an election, no matter how shameless. The latest chapter in this tragic tale was just written the other day, when he tried to score political points by launching attacks over emergency repairs that are needed at the Zoo Interchange.
Walker was given undeserved headlines for making baseless accusations regarding the order with which the state has prioritized repairs for our busiest freeway systems. Walker alleges that this is an example of politics that "got in the way of good policy". Not only is this a breathtaking example of pot/kettle syndrome but even Walker admits in the story to having zero evidence to back the wild claim.
Responding to the wild Walker claims, Department of Transportation officials confirm that the priority list was based on a number of very objective pieces of information.
The pavement on the freeway was scheduled to be replaced in 2006-'10, and the corridor served as a major route for trucks and tourists, according to the DOT.
Plus, environmental work done in the north-south corridor in the '90s gave planners a head start in the engineering necessary to move the project from concept to construction. The work could begin in 2009, immediately after the Marquette job was finished.
By comparison, the environmental assessments and engineering necessary for the Zoo Interchange reconstruction put the earliest start date for that project in 2012. That would have left a two- to three-year gap, with no work done on the long-range freeway rebuild.
As in most cases, the wild Walker rhetoric does not match up with reality. In fact reality plus a quick history lesson fully exposes Slippery Scott's rhetoric on this particular issue. In 2007 State Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi released cost estimates and plans regarding the reconstructing of I-94 south of Milwaukee. Those plans included changes to the previous construction schedule on our highest priority projects. While Scott Walker is trying to score shameless political points on this issue right now, he was singing an entirely different tune in 2007 when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the following:
Busalacchi found support for his plan from Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and area legislators who regard the north-south corridor as a vital pathway for commerce and a link to the dollars available in the Chicago marketplace.
So what has changed since 2007 besides Scott Walker's position on yet another issue? Who are we supposed to believe, the Scott Walker of 2007 that endorsed the plan or the current one that is trying to glom on to any perceived controversy just to score cheap political points? If you want to hear an even newer version of Scott Walker on this issue, just wait for him to answer questions by voters that most frequently use southern I-94. I wonder what he will tell them when they ask why he no longer feels that their area is the number one priority?
The one road that I wish would finally crumble apart is the totally shameless one that Scott Walker keeps traveling down in his endless campaign for higher office.