Buried deep, deep in the environmental impact statement for the North-South I-94 reconstruction and expansion project are two short sentences that give lie to the agency's $1.9 billion cost estimate.
"All construction costs presented in this document have been calculated to account for inflation between 2006 and the end of the multi-year construction that WisDOT has scheduled to begin in 2009. WisDOT and FHWA assumed a 3-percent annual inflation rate."
What a crock. Inflation in road construction has been soaring for several years. The American Road & Transportation Builders Association reported in October that the cost of highway and street construction materials was up 6% from September 2006 to September 2007.
"Over the last three years, annual highway and street construction material prices have increased nearly 32 percent," the association said.
Three percent. Yeah. Right.