According to the Milwaukee Biz Times, tucked inside the Department of Transportation’s $278 million Hoan Bridge rehabilitation project is a line item for between $500,000 and $1 million for LED lights to span the arch of the bridge.
The lights are completely aesthetic and would "add substantially to the beauty of our city at night," says the managing partner at the architectural firm responsible for the project.
"Different colors could be used for different events or themes," says the chief construction engineer for southeastern Wisconsin freeways at the Department of Transportation.
Of course, not everyone is excited about the million dollar mood lights.
Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) proposed an amendment on Friday to remove the funding for the aesthetic lights.
"These lights are for looks only and serve no safety purpose," Jagler said. "The funding for the lights is nearly identical to the amount needed for the project on Highway 16, which has now been delayed a year. Improving safety at an intersection which has seen dozens of accidents with injuries and several fatalities in recent years should take priority."
Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars, particularly when ideas like raising the gas tax and toll roads are being floated in order to help fund transportation projects?
Does Milwaukee’s Hoan Bridge really need mood lighting at a cost of up to $1 million taxpayer dollars?