Climate governors don’t expand highways

WISPIRG's Summer Program Associate Christina Zordani, a student sustainability advocate at UW-Madison, explains her disappointment with Gov. Evers' recent decision to revive the cancelled expansion of Interstate 94 in Milwaukee.

As a UW student who cares deeply about mitigating climate change and who serves on UW’s sustainability committee, I was disappointed when Gov. Evers recently announced plans to reinstate the expansion of I-94 in Milwaukee. This news came just as the governor's Climate Task Force was holding public hearings to find ways to meet the state’s ambitious emissions goals. 

The fact of the matter is: Climate governors don’t expand highways. Transportation accounts for 29 percent of total U.S. greenhouse emissions, and personal car travel is the largest sub-source of transportation emissions. Adding highway lanes rarely results in congestion relief. Instead, adding capacity to a road just draws more traffic — a phenomenon so predictable it’s been called the “Fundamental Law of Road Congestion” — and thereby increases pollution that’s harmful to the climate and to public health.

In order for young people like me to believe that our elected officials are actually willing to tackle climate change, we need their words to be followed by action. Gov. Evers should not expand I-94. Instead, Wisconsin should prioritize clean, effective options like public transit, walking, biking, and electric transportation, and do a better job at maintaining existing infrastructure.

This is a guest post by WISPIRG Summer Program Associate Christina Zordani. Christina is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies. She is also a Varsity Athlete and a member of the UW Office of Sustainability's Green Athletics Team.