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Doyle on Zoo SNAFU: “Don’t Blame Me”

When you’re a weasel of a politician, you go all out don’t you.

People of Wisconsin: I give you James E. Doyle, Governor of the State of the Wisconsin.

Gov. Jim Doyle said Tuesday that the decision to rebuild the Zoo Interchange after work on I-94 south from Milwaukee to the state line was made before he became governor in 2003.

He said he tried to move up the timetable for the Zoo Interchange project but had to put it back on its original schedule because of budget problems.

In his first public comments, he noted the project was still years away because of advance design work that needs to be done.

“I hope everybody understands that even if somebody two years ago said, ‘Do the Zoo Interchange, here’s 3 billion, let’s do it,’ it would take six (or) seven years of . . . engineering work to be done.”

Doyle made his comments after the emergency closure Friday of the Highway 45 bridge in the Zoo Interchange. The bridge is expected to be closed for two months for repairs, causing detours and delays for thousands of commuters.

Some Republicans and others have blamed the Doyle administration for the bridge falling into disrepair.

Doyle is right in the sense that engineering on the project would have taken time.  Engineering on the Zoo would have taken a few year, but it would have been either completed or possibly expedited if the type of damage now seen on the Zoo had been noticed in late 2005 or 2006 when WisDOT engineers first would have had a chance to look at the project.  This would have happened in the case of the Zoo; especially if we had a Governor who wanted to see the project done.

Sadly, it took a highway bridge collapsing in Minnesota and deterioration of the Zoo noticed by engineers last year to even get us to where we now are.

In fact, in 2001-02, former Governor Scott McCallum did a series of commercials for his DOT promoting public input on the upcoming Marquette Interchange project.  If memory serves, the Doyle Campaign at the time attacked the ads as a waste of taxpayer resources and McCallum using them to boost his public profile for the 2002 race.

(I now wait for 2002 Doyle Campaign Manager and uber-liberal blogger Bill “Xoff” Christofferson to tell me I’m lying.)

The truth is Doyle has never given a damn about Milwaukee’s interchanges and consistently opposed any means to replace them.  He only got on-board the Marquette after it was announced the were going to be both under-budget and ahead of schedule — a rarity in a public works project of that size — and he could use it to his advantage as a public relations victory.  Beyond that, Doyle has shown he doesn’t view transportation projects as vital to the state.

Raiding the transportation fund budget after budget and using it as a slush fund during his tenure as Governor only enhances that image.

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