Madison spending millions on new streets: Is that a good idea?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

From an article by Kristin Czubkowski in The Capital Times:

Pleasant View Road is little more than a dirt path in places right now. Drive west on Mineral Point Road past Target and it is easy to miss the beginning of Pleasant View’s southern extension, which will connect it to Valley View Road and the city’s burgeoning southwest side.

But stand at the intersection of Pleasant View and Mineral Point at 5 p.m. on any weeknight and look east toward Madison, and it’s easy to see why Pleasant View may become one of the most important new roads in the city. Cars turning left from Mineral Point onto Junction Road (County M) to head south back up nearly to the Beltline at rush hour, and it’s not unusual to have to wait through two light cycles before making a left turn anywhere at the intersection.

And that’s before most of the area west of Junction Road has even been built up, which will bring even more traffic. The majority remains farmland, waiting for the recently approved University Research Park II to be built as one of the city’s largest new economic development projects. Neighborhoods that surround the research park site are still in their infancy, with developers’ signs dotting the landscape for future houses and apartments.

Roads like Pleasant View that will serve these areas, however, do not come cheap. The price tag on Pleasant View Road for 2010 is $8.57 million, with the city paying about $1.9 million after special assessments and federal money are factored in. . . .

All told, Madison’s budget for major road construction and maintenance has more than doubled since 2000, leaping from $27.5 million in 2000 to $59.3 million in 2010. The portion of that coming from city borrowing, not state or federal money, has nearly quintupled, from $6.83 million in 2000 to $34.11 million in 2010.