Sunday, May 27, 2007

Federal Rules: Wisconsin Suffers

As we mentioned, Federal grants look very nice. But like some other books, the cover is misleading.

In order to get "free" Federal money for transportation projects, Wisconsin drivers have to purchase expensive reformulated gasoline (using Corn-a-Hole) and wait in line every two years for someone to "check" their car's emission.

If the EPA approves the request, motorists in the region still would have to use reformulated gas. The vehicle inspection maintenance program, which inspects 750,000 cars and light trucks a year, likely also would have to stay because it's required by federal law.

Business in Southeastern Wisconsin has been squelched by EPA ozone rulings for years. To help businesses,

...the state will ask the EPA to declare that eight counties, including six in southeastern Wisconsin, are in compliance with federal standards for a pollutant known as ozone.

The change in designation would be a major coup for economic development efforts in the region. Wisconsin's longstanding violation of ozone levels has "essentially stifled growth" for large companies, said Allen Shea, the DNR's top air regulator.

As most people know, a good deal of the pollution migrates to SE Wisconsin from the south--specifically NE Illinois and Ohio. It's called airborne pollution, and it gets here with the wind.

But it's not that simple:

On Monday, George Torres, Milwaukee County director of transportation and public works, warned the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transit Authority that lifting the ozone designation could threaten another part of the KRM line's funding - federal grants aimed at reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Transportation consultant Peter Peyser agreed those grants are tied to the region's ozone status.

Which is to say that the ChooChoo boys will be unhappy.

All to get the "free" Federal money.

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