9/18/18 – WAOW TV-News 9 (Wausau)

Bumpy roads around the Wausau area cost drivers $1,517 per year according to a report released today by TRIP.

TRIP, a national transportation research group, studied roads and bridges across the state and found that 31% of roads are in poor condition and 9% of bridges are structurally deficient. Those numbers are worse in Wausau with 51% of roads in poor condition and 10% of bridges that are structurally deficient.

Marathon County Board member John Robinson says there’s a need for the state to address the issue.

According to TRIP, the cost of these poor driving conditions comes from “accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.” There is also a cost for lost time due to congestion and accidents.

“It’s much more cost effective to invest the money in improving the transportation system rather than passing along a very hefty price tag to the state’s drivers,” said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, the Associate Director of Research and Communication at TRIP.

Without adequate state fund, Marathon County has worked to combat the issue of bad roads but putting into place a $25 wheel tax. According to Robinson, the wheel tax helps with preventative measures as well as reconstruction.

In 2016, Wausau voted on an additional $20 wheel tax to help repair roads in the city, but voters opposed the tax.