9/23/17, Upfront with Mike Gousha

Mike Gousha says the new 2017-2019 state budget failed once again to find a long-term transportation fix.

The Governor and state lawmakers touted increased spending on K-12 education and lower taxes.

But behind the smiles, there remains some frustration in Republican ranks about what happened to another budget priority, transportation.

Remember “Just Fix It”? We heard a lot of that over the last year, on TV commercials and interviews, as the state tried to figure out what to do about a $1 billion deficit in the transportation budget.

The group behind the Just Fix It campaign, the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, said the state’s highways, roads and bridges were in rough shape, and needed to be fixed now.

But fixing our roads requires a long-term solution to the state’s transportation needs.

And that, despite a lot of debate, is not a part of the new budget. Instead, this spending plan, like those in the past, kicks the can down the road.

Yes, there’s less borrowing, but there’s also not enough money to pay for a number of key projects around the state. Some will be delayed, including ones affecting the economic hub of Milwaukee.

The state’s inability to find a transportation fix stands in sharp contrast to some of our Midwestern neighbors. Michigan is phasing in fuel tax and vehicle registration fee hikes. Iowa and Indiana have raised their gas tax by 10 cents per gallon.

The feeling was that with an improving economy and relatively low gas prices, now was a good time to bite the bullet and Just Fix It.

Just not here in Wisconsin.