Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Oh, goodie. Another Mueller Communications / SEWRPC survey

If the Reginal Transit Authority wants to maintain its credibility, it will take pains to ensure that its planned survey regarding the Kenosha Racine Milwaukee commuter rail system is not anything like the piece of garbage that the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and Mueller Communciations concocted in order to push for freeway expansion.

Both SEWRPC and Mueller Communications are deeply involved in the RTA, the body putting together the funding plan for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail proposal. SEWRPC is staffing the RTA, and Mueller Communications won a $490,000 contract to help promote the proposal.

The (Mueller-led) group will be conducting a poll, trying to sway government officials and community groups to hop on board, figuring out a funding source for the project, creating and operating a Web site and churning out newsletters, press releases and other spin devices, the JS reported.

The freeway survey these same two bodies teamed up to foist upon the public at the public's expense was a civic atrocity, a prime example of a government agency pushing special interests' agenda.

The survey told respondents what to think before it asked for their thoughts. For example, respondents were told that traffic growth was causing frequent congestion and delays. Then they were asked if they believed traffic congestion was a problem. They were told the regional freeway system needs to be modernized, then they were asked if they favored a modern freeway system. The survey made no mention of the $6.2 billion cost estimate (year 2000 dollars) or the estimated 216 residences and 31 businesses SEWRPC's freeway plan envisioned destroying.

The trouble with involving either SEWRPC or Mueller Communications in developing another transportation survey is that SEWRPC and Mueller Communications have already destroyed their credibility on this score. The RTA ought not trust them with the task, and should reassure the public that it is not trusting them with this task. Any survey or poll done should be vetted by survey experts for objectivity and fairness.

Taxpayers simply should not be asked to fund a survey that is being conducted only to achieve a pre-determined outcome.

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