Brookfield, WI – When public infrastructure issues come up, it’s usually about roads and bridges. Democrat Tom Palzewicz running for Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District seat, is looking beyond immediate needs, but to our needs in the future.
In southeast Wisconsin, there has been focus on the Marquette and Zoo interchanges in Milwaukee, the Foxconn project in Racine County and upgrades on I-94 and I-43. That is an immediate concern, but Palzewicz believes our focus on roads will not serve the needs of the community in the years ahead. Our reliance on cars contributes greatly to the never-ending need for repair. Jobs have moved out of Milwaukee into the surrounding counties, but there is either very limited, or no bus service to those areas. Palzewicz believes Wisconsin missed out on an opportunity to remedy that situation.
The idea of rail was heavily opposed and eventually Governor Scott Walker canceled the project that would have created jobs and given people the ability to get to their jobs, especially going from Milwaukee County to Waukesha County.
“That is still an issue in the fifth congressional district, because there would be a tremendous amount of difference in the way we use and think about transportation, if we would have taken the federal money and created the high speed rail line, basically between Chicago and Minneapolis,” Palzewicz explained. “In Minneapolis, there are many different transit opportunities to move around that city. Their highways are still clogged. I’m not going to say because we have the train, our highways won’t be clogged because that’s not true.
“But if we have the train, it would allow a lot of people, who are disadvantaged from a transportation standpoint, be able to work in different places. And this all goes back to creating jobs where the people live. If we can’t create the jobs where the people live, we have to create an infrastructure and a transportation system to move them to where the jobs are. And we’ve done neither in this state, especially in Southeast Wisconsin.”
Palzewicz points to studies that indicate rail systems are a stimulus to development.
”Another part of this is every study shows that when there is some kind of rail system, the rail hubs become areas of growth,” Palzewicz said. “Because you actually get people who want to live near those rail hubs because it becomes an easy way to take a train to a job versus jump in a car. And one of the things I always go back to is there’s 60,000 people who live in Waukesha County and work in Milwaukee County. And there’s 60,000 people that live in Milwaukee County and work in Waukesha County. And the only way for them to get jobs is pretty much by car. So when I think of infrastructure, that’s our starting point.”
Palzewicz envisions infrastructure projects that will meet the needs of our children and grandchildren, create jobs and opportunity and unite communities.