Wisconsin Republicans To Blame For Transportation Funding Mess



When voters talk about politics it often centers on the inability of elected officials to make decisions on the pressing needs of our time.  In Washington that might mean no all-encompassing immigration bill or congressional backing for dealing with ISIS.

When Wisconsin voters talk of such topics they can rightfully argue that legislators have no ability to craft a well-reasoned and much needed transportation bill with the required funding to meet our needs.  The news this past week that the Joint Finance Committee has not been able to hurdle the issues confronting our state transportation requirements and the means to fund them is troubling.

Over two years ago the Transportation Finance and Policy Commission after exhaustive and bi-partisan work released a report that pointed a way forward to making sure transportation needs were funded.  The proposals were honest and ones that we all needed to hear.

Among other things the…

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2 Comments on “Wisconsin Republicans To Blame For Transportation Funding Mess”

  1. Matt Logan Says:

    ” The proposals were honest and ones that we all needed to hear.”
    In fact, they were not honest. For starters, WISDOT claims to be supporting the state’s economy. During the committee process, I asked WISDOT for the TPF materials that demonstrated a net economic benefit for the state of the projects they recommended for enumeration.
    Sure, the words “economic development” appear in the scoring criteria, but what that actually means is WISDOT looks at the immediate corridor for net impacts, but not the entire state. So we don’t know if corridor growth projected by WISDOT is coming at the expense of growth in another area of the state, or if it is genuine statewide net growth that would not have occurred without the project.
    I have also asked the Governor for materials the demonstrate a net benefit for the state. His office responded with the same narrow-analysis materials I got from WISDOT. You can review those materials here:
    I would also like to highlight that my concern arises from national studies of the net return of highway projects that show a steady decline since the 1960’s, with returns dropping below the return of leaving the money in the private sector in 2005:
    I have brought this study up to WISDOT staff, and various transportation groups. Nobody has been interested in digging deeper. That lack of curiousity is a serious red flag that calls into question whether there is a department-wide bias that favors viewing highway expansion as an economic generator.

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