Jeff Hoffman, chair of the Waukesha County Business
Alliance’s Policy Board, speaks Wednesday morning about
the importance of funding for the Interstate 94
East-West Corridor, as Tracy Johnson, president and CEO
of the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin,
left, and Steve Baas, senior vice president of
governmental affairs for MMAC, right, listen.
- Surrounded by products made by southeastern Wisconsin
companies that rely on Interstate 94 to transport their
goods, members of a newly formed coalition called on
Wisconsin’s administration to prioritize maintenance and
improvements of the Interstate 94 East-West corridor.
Hoffman, who sits on the Waukesha County Business
Alliance’s policy board, shared his thoughts as part of
the I-94 East-West Econ Connect coalition press
conference Wednesday at State Fair Park and later in an
interview with The Freeman.
Corridor serves as the gateway for the products, jobs,
destinations and health care and educational
institutions that make our region vibrant and strong.
While we applaud efforts by the state to eliminate waste
and inefficiency, stalling this project now would be a
major roadblock to Wisconsin’s business, job and
- Tracy Johnson, president and CEO of Commercial
Association of Realtors Wisconsin
principal with Cushman & Wakefield|Boerke, Hoffman said
he hears from people in the real estate industry who
believe well-maintained infrastructure is key to luring
buyers, as well as operating a successful business.
full reconstruction and modernization of the East-West
Corridor has been on the state’s agenda and work had
been likely to start in February 2017, funding for the
work was cut from Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2017-19
budget. The I-94 east-west project from 16th to 70th
streets in Milwaukee County was planned to cost about
at the state level, we want to make sure that everyone
is on the same page. Right now, leaders in the city of
Milwaukee have consistently opposed an expansion that
would widen the I-94 corridor ... I think for us to move
forward on anything we want to see folks here in the
city be on the same page,” Walker said in a statement.
coalition contends this is detrimental to the economic
success of not only southeastern Wisconsin, but the
East-West Corridor runs for 3.5 miles between 16th and
70th streets, connecting Milwaukee and Waukesha counties
to locations beyond their borders. About 140,000 to
160,000 vehicles travel the I-94 East-West Corridor each
day, according to the coalition.
contends that should the project be put on hold, the
state’s investment of about $20 million and four years’
worth of work to plan the project and get federal
approvals for it would be lost.
Alliance believes it is necessary and there is robust
debate that needs to happen on how we fund future
transportation and infrastructure projects,” Hoffman
said on Wednesday.
corridor is also the way many workers get to and from
their jobs, whether they live in Milwaukee County and
travel west or vice-versa. As such, Hoffman said the
corridor is a main hub of commerce in Wisconsin and it
allows employers in Waukesha County to be competitive if
the standpoint of Waukesha County, there are a lot of
our growing employers who operate on a regional and
national basis,” he said.
Johnson, president and CEO of coalition member
Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, also spoke
during the press conference Wednesday.
believes that if the repairs and improvement to the I-94
project do not occur, it will have a “cascading effect”
on the state’s economy.
East-West Corridor serves as the gateway for the
products, jobs, destinations and health care and
educational institutions that make our region vibrant
and strong. While we applaud efforts by the state to
eliminate waste and inefficiency, stalling this project
now would be a major roadblock to Wisconsin’s business,
job and economic growth,” she said in a statement.
would like discussion of the project at the state level
and for a solution to be found.
kicking it down the road we believe is a mistake and
will end up costing money,” she said.
members of the I-94 East-West Econ Connect include
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce,
MillerCoors, Marquette University, Palermo’s and Forest
coalition has sent a letter to members of the Wisconsin
Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance. and has
established a new website at www.I94EconConnect.com.