Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Once You're Done With the Train...

Despite not being in the news game anymore, I am still on the email list for every political action committee and party in Wisconsin.  Right now, every press release from these groups deal with Governor-elect Scott Walker's effort to kill the not-so-high-speed-train between Madison and Milwaukee.  Liberal groups have given up on selling this project as a "need" and are now exclusively focusing on the "tens of thousands" of jobs that will be "created" by the project--and how Walker is "shipping those jobs to Illinois".

Since building the train line has a finite timeline--it would obviously be the responsible thing for the state to find more "work" for those employees--so we can avoid the spike in unemployment we would see after those "thousands" wrap up work on the rail lines.  Therefore, the state needs to immediately create a new Department of Infrasture Projects We Really Don't Need (DIPWRDN or "dip-worden").  Forming DIPWRDN should create "thousands of jobs" alone--because you can't have a Department down in Madison without a Secretary, an Undersecretary, lawyers, engineers, operators, administrative assistants, pages, an oversight committee, advisors, communications specialists, and outside consultants.

Here are some projects that DIPWRDN can consider for the future:
The Winnebago Bridge.  If you live on the west side of Lake Winnebago, you know what a pain in the butt it is to drive to places like Chilton or Manitowoc.  Having to drive all the way around the lake--wasting time and valuable gas.  Forget those headaches after we build a bridge from Oshkosh to the eastern shore.  If it means we can get Stimulus III funds, we can add a not-so-high-speed rail line between the lanes of traffic.  Bonus "revenue" if we can make it a toll bridge as well.

The Bay Tunnel.  This project tugs at my heartstrings.  My first job in radio was in Marinette--while my girlfriend (now wife) lived in Algoma.  To see each other, we had to drive about two hours around Green Bay.  A tunnel under the Bay would save time and gas--not to mention it would open up Door County to potential tourists from northern Wisconsin and the UP and vice versa.  Think of the economic stimulus that would provide!!  I should also note that there used to be ferry service between Marinette and Sturgeon Bay.

Attach the Hoan Bridge to Something.  Anyone who has visited the east side of Milwaukee has wondered "Why do they have that big bridge over there?"  Originally, the Hoan was going to be part of an Eastside Expressway--that would have been a segment of a proposed "beltway"surrounding the city and making getting places (or bypassing the city entirely) easier.  Instead, John Norquist (before becoming Mayor) worked to kill the project--which voters had approved back in the 1950's.  As Mayor, Norquist then tried to force Light Rail on the city--which also was killed in mid-stream--only after taking much needed money away from improvements to the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges.  Anyway, let's get back to the original "vision" and build the Milwaukee Beltway so you can actually get somewhere down there.

The Dells Dome.  In these difficult economic times, the tourism industry is taking a big hit--as families have less discretionary income for things like trips to the water park or go-kart racing.  Throw in the short season Wisconsin Dells attraction owners face and you can see the need for "stimulating" that economy.  Some have built the indoor water parks--but what about Tommy Bartlett and his water ski show?  Or the Original Ducks?  How do they take their show indoors?  Here's a simple solution: put all of Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton "inside".  Let's build a giant retractable dome that we can close from Labor Day to Memorial Day and keep the interior a balmy 80-degrees all winter long.  It would be the ultimate "job creation" project--as it would require hundreds of thousands of people to build, tens of thousands to operate, and several thousand to staff all those attractions year-round instead of just for four months.  To fund it--we may need to raise the state sales tax to 50%--but that is the price you pay for "job creation".  If successful, we can put domes over Rib Mountain--keeping it cold enough to ski all year round--and Door County.

Estimated price tag on all of these projects?  I'd put it at 10-trillion dollars.  But so long as we are "creating jobs" with it--it's apparently very worthwhile.

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