9/22/2016, Merrill Foto News – Lincoln County has signed on to a statewide alliance of public and private entities seeking more transportation funding to maintain roads. A campaign dubbed “Just Fix It” is bringing pressure on Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators to adequately fund for the upkeep of local roads in Wisconsin. More than 400 entities are allied in a quest with the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin to bring about more sustainable funding of roads and highways across the state.
The county board cited sources that Wisconsin highway conditions are losing ground to most states in upkeep and repair. A resolution approved by the county board at the last meeting said state funding of local road maintenance had failed to keep up with costs, and cited a commissioned study that said municipal per capita spending on roads had declined.
Property tax levy limits have prevented local government from raising enough money for local road repairs and state gas taxes and vehicle registration fees are increasingly being used to pay state debts, alliance backers say.
The resolution forwarded to Walker and state lawmakers said Wisconsin motorists “pay significantly less than any of our neighbors when you combine the annual cost of state gas tax and vehicle registration fees.” The transportation finance and policy commission, appointed by Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature, “clearly found” that state and local roads will “deteriorate significantly” over the next decade unless Wisconsin adjusts its user fees.
The Wisconsin League of Municipalities, Wisconsin Towns Association and the Wisconsin Counties Association said over 365 governing bodies are so far supporting the Just Fix It initiative. They will be co-hosting “town hall type” meetings across the state on Sept. 29 to rally support for more road funding. These meetings named, “Turnout for Transportation” are being hosted in every county on that night.
Lincoln County will be hosting the local meeting for those backing the Just Fix It campaign at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Lincoln County Service Center, 801 N. Sales St., Room 257 in Merrill. The general public is encouraged to attend.