Topic

infrastructure

29 petitions

Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Howard Marklein, Travis Tranel, Scott Walker, Ron Kind, Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson

Bridging The Gap: Building a highway bridge across the Mississippi River at Cassville, WI

With the closure of both electrical power plants in Cassville, Wisconsin in 2015, it is imperative to find a way to repair the damage done to this once vibrant community. Fact of the matter is the number and quality of those power plant jobs are not coming back. Middle-income families have no reason to move to the Cassville area if there are no jobs. Without jobs, this village in the far southwestern corner of Wisconsin will continue to wither over time. Tourism alone is not going to save it. So what can be done? Finishing the dream of a man by the name of R.J. "Penny" Eckstein of building a bridge across the Mississippi River from Cassville to Clayton County, Iowa is a great start at providing a solution to the problem.  Mr. Eckstein was a long-time village president of Cassville, and a true visionary for the community.  His tenure on the village board spanned six decades, commencing in the 1920s and ending in the 1970s.  He was the reason Cassville became home to two power plants to begin with.  Eckstein made a concerted attempt in the 1960s to get a bridge built which follows an earlier attempt that actually dates back to 1935.  Eckstein noted during a community-wide meeting held at Cassville High School on August 4, 1966, that the 1935 bridge attempt had passed through the Wisconsin state legislature but failed to receive approval from the governor due to the lack of a tax-free bond at the time. Here we are, over 80 years later, and still no bridge. Why is it imperative that Cassville be granted a bridge?  For starters, there is a highway bridge span located approximately every 30 miles on the upper portion of the Mississippi River between the Twin Cities of Minnesota and the Quad Cities of Iowa/Illinois…except at Cassville.  There is a 60-mile gap between the bridges that currently exist at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Dubuque, Iowa.  As you can see on the attached map, Cassville is located halfway between Prairie du Chien and Dubuque, so a bridge at Cassville will ease the traffic loads on the existing bridges at those locations.  Plus, the Mississippi River's width at Cassville is quite narrow compared to other stretches of the river.  The narrow river width at Cassville would reduce construction and maintenance costs in this situation.  In addition, there is existing road infrastructure on both the Iowa and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi River at Cassville which would reduce environmental impact from the construction of a bridge.  A bridge would put Cassville closer to the Dubuque metropolitan area and its economic vitality. A bridge puts Cassville closer to Guttenberg and access to basic services such as quality healthcare which includes a hospital, several clinics and a pharmacy.  Other services such as an auto dealership, a dollar store and a hardware store are located at Guttenberg, all within a quick 10-minute drive of downtown Cassville. Currently, it takes a Cassville resident between 20-30 minutes at minimum to obtain access to those services elsewhere in Wisconsin.  A bridge at Cassville would open the door for local residents to find jobs in Dubuque, Delaware and Clayton counties in Iowa that would have commute times of 45 minutes or less. Right now, without a bridge, it takes a Cassville resident nearly one hour to commute to a workplace located at Dubuque’s west end. A 20-minute reduction in commute time would be extraordinary.  A bridge makes Cassville and adjacent areas of Grant County in Wisconsin, and Clayton and northern Dubuque counties in Iowa more attractive to employers because a skilled workforce can be drawn from four directions on *both* sides of the river.  There will be huge advantages to both Wisconsin and Iowa businesses and employers since a bridge will open up economic opportunities across state lines, especially with agribusiness, that are currently difficult to achieve due to the sheer highway distance between both areas. Needless to say, having a bridge would allow tourism to skyrocket in this region, leading to more restaurants, shops, hotels and motels.  A bridge gives people a reason to drive through Cassville and patronize its businesses, not bypass it because the village happens to be located in a corner of the state with no major highways running through it.  A bridge will allow this beautiful area and our Iowa neighbors' real estate on the other side of the river to develop and become home to countless others, increasing the tax base for Grant County, Wisconsin and Clayton County, Iowa. You may remember that Alliant Energy wanted to expand the Nelson Dewey Generating Station at Cassville in 2008, but that attempt was thwarted by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission during Governor Jim Doyle's tenure.  This expansion and upgrade to Nelson Dewey would have *added* jobs to the Cassville economy.  Instead, no jobs were created and, in fact, jobs were going to be lost once Alliant Energy announced in 2012 that the Nelson Dewey plant would be closed at the end of 2015 since the plant was too old and it would be too expensive to install the necessary controls to meet Environmental Protection Agency pollution guidelines.  In regard to the DTE Stoneman Station plant, the conversion to biomass fuel to meet clean-air requirements was doomed from the start, but it gave the village high hopes for the future.  Those hopes were shattered once the plant proved not to be cost-effective in the long run and was abruptly closed in 2015.  There should have been an incentive provided by our state and federal governments years ago to convert the plant from coal to natural gas.  Natural gas conversion at DTE would have likely meant the plant would still be operating today.  Essentially, politics killed Cassville's economy with the closure of both power plants, and with approximately 100 jobs lost (10% of Cassville's population) Cassville will be unable to weather this storm without government assistance. So far, government officials have generally turned a blind eye to providing a *permanent* and *adequate* solution to the economic problems Cassville and the region face as a result. Think about this, 10% of this community's population lost their job. 10% is the equivalent of the city of Madison losing 24,000 jobs. If Madison lost 24,000 jobs in the same calendar year, this would be a news-worthy headline. That is why we need YOUR help to SIGN and SHARE this petition with friends, family and anyone else who wants to see the state of Wisconsin do something positive for its rural residents. Rural communities need adequate infrastructure to survive and compete with their urban friends and neighbors.  Through this petition, hopefully Cassville's representatives on the state and national stages will better understand the region's dire need for a highway bridge to a successful future, and elect to work with the state of Iowa and the federal government to make this long-sought vision a reality.  As the federal government rolls out a national infrastructure plan in the near future, a bridge spanning the Mississippi River at Cassville will be a great shovel-ready project to have sitting on the docket.  After 82 years of waiting, it is time for a change, and southwestern Wisconsin most certainly deserves it!

Lance Wamsley
1,667 supporters
Started 3 months ago

Petition to Florida Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Commissioner, Rachel D. Cone, Commissioner Esteban Bovo

Stop the Downtown Miami Signature Bridge

Spending $850M on a “signature bridge” is a luxury we taxpayers simply can’t afford. The bridge is not falling apart and does not need replaced at this time. FDOT and Miami-Dade County claim the bridge will ease traffic on I-395 and the Macarthur Causeway. It won’t! They claim it will better connect Overtown with the greater downtown area. It won’t! Renderings show kids playing in between the double-decker expressway and adjacent multi-lane access roads. What parent would encourage their children to play there? Sorry, but the only things it will result in is years of construction hassles for area residents and commuters. And lots of taxpayer money paid off to handpicked contractors. And probably another downtown area homeless camp. The downtown area traffic has gotten exponentially worse in the last few years, and it is understandable that residents are clamoring for solutions. However, consider the major traffic bottlenecks in the area. They are 1) the Brickell drawbridge, 2) crashes on I-95 and the causeways, and 3) downtown area events, especially American Airlines Arena events. Well guess what, FDOT’s signature bridge doesn’t touch any of these bottlenecks! On top of that, the cost of $850M for the 1.4 mile span is even more expensive than Metrorail expansion. More expensive than Metrorail and doesn’t do address the major traffic bottlenecks—a terrible deal for us residents. At least Metrorail solves the traffic problem entirely for those who can use it, taking personal vehicles and Ubers off the road. Instead of wasting our money on the signature bridge, for $850M FDOT could 1) build the Baylink rail transit line across the Macarthur Causeway; 2) build bus rapid transit (BRT) in dedicated transit lanes across the Causeway and make no-frills improvements and updates to the on and off ramps; or 3) build a tunnel under the Miami River. Any of these could be combined with high impact, low cost neighborhood level walkability and shared use trail improvements and frequent bus/trolley service, which really would help connect the residents of Overtown with the rest of the City. And I’m sure others will contribute additional/better ideas in the comments below. Let’s face it: A towering highway structure has never and will never, never “reconnect” a community. In fact, Overtown was destroyed in part by the construction of the current highway structures. History matters, and if we don’t understand it, we are doomed to repeat the failures of the past! If the project really is about connecting the Overtown community, why hasn’t the community had any input as to whether it should be done in the first place? Please join me in opposing this monstrosity (it literally looks like something out of War of the Worlds!) and in finding more beneficial ways to spend $850M of our taxpayer money.

Brandon Kerns
8 supporters