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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Save the port of Milwaukee and Wisconsin jobs

From an article by John Nichols in The Capital Times:

Wisconsin officials have seemed for too long to be at war with this state's rich industrial legacy.

It is as if they live in a fantasy world that imagines this Great Lakes state will somehow become the next Silicon Valley.

But when state officials make policies that aim in the direction of fantasy-island developments rather than taking necessary steps to retain existing industrial jobs and to attract news ones, they undermine Wisconsin's future.

That is what Department of Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi and his aides appear to be doing with their scheming to redevelop the Hoan Bridge/794 corridor in a manner that would decimate roughly two-thirds of the port of Milwaukee.

The port, still one of the largest and most well-situated on the Great Lakes, provides crucial support to our manufacturing base - not only in Milwaukee but all of southeastern Wisconsin, which remains one of the nation's great centers for small and medium-sized factories.

But the port could be seriously undermined as a support for Wisconsin's manufacturing sector if Busalacchi and the Doyle administration get their way.

According to documents obtained through an open records request initiated by Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik, Busalacchi's DOT has commissioned - at a cost of $225,000 - a study by the HNTB planning group of strategies for the demolition of the Hoan Bridge and the development of a condo and entertainment complex.

The port will be critical as Wisconsin develops manufacturing capabilities to supply the wind industry.

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