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Coalition Pushes Green Technology in Stimulus


By Scott Bauer
Chicago Tribune
January 13, 2009


A coalition including environmental groups and the mayors of
Milwaukee and Madison are pushing $2 billion worth of projects they want to be
paid for by the federal economic stimulus package.

The initiatives are environmentally friendly and would create about 30,000 jobs,
the group said Tuesday.

The projects overlap with some green initiatives Gov. Jim Doyle has already
presented to Congress and President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, said
Melissa Scanlan, founder of Midwest Environmental Advocates.

But the coalition’s list also includes recommendations from mayors, sanitation
districts and others. It also is being sent to Obama’s team and Wisconsin’s
congressional delegation, Scanlan said.

The $3.8 billion wish list Doyle presented to Congress in December was not
limited to green initiatives.

The coalition’s list emphasizes public transportation by increasing bus and
rapid transit and creating one high-speed rail between Chicago, Milwaukee and
Madison and another between Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee.

The group also is calling for fixing existing roads and bridges before spending
money to build new ones, retrofitting older buildings to be more energy
efficient and improving water systems to be more environmentally friendly.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, who is a part of the coalition, said the
list represents pragmatic and realistic proposals that can create better-paying jobs.

There is a unique opportunity to get the work done given Obama’s election, the
economic uncertainty and the need to update the country’s infrastructure, said
Steve Hiniker, executive director of 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, a land-use advocacy group.

Coalition members also include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Madison Mayor Dave
Cieslewicz, three state representatives and a host of environmental groups,
elected officials and special interest groups.

The entire list of projects is available at www.midwestadvocates.org.

 

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