8/18/2016, Lodi Enterprise

Dear Governor Walker,

In the last six years, we have done great work together to champion Wisconsin taxpayers and move our great state forward. Conservative reforms have already saved Wisconsinites over $5 billion and are on track to do much more. We have lowered property taxes for five years in a row. Wisconsin’s universities are now more accountable to and affordable for our state’s growing minds. We have the lowest unemployment rate since 2001. We rank 6th in the nation for wage growth and 3rd in the nation for high school graduation. Wisconsin is a better place to live, work, and raise a family because of our accomplishments together. It is in the spirit of this great partnership that I write to you today in hope of focusing our efforts on a solution to our long-term transportation funding problem.

As you know, agriculture and tourism are top drivers of Wisconsin’s growing economy. As a third generation farmer and the owner of a small trucking company, I cannot begin to tell you enough how important our roads are for my daily activity and for the success of both of my businesses. For me and farmers like me all over Wisconsin, every step of our trade requires efficient movement on our infrastructure, whether traveling from farm to field or moving product from farm to market. Leisure travel around the state is just as important. How can we ask tourists to vacation in Wisconsin travelling on deteriorating roads that may lengthen their trip and damage their vehicle?

The Department of Transportation is currently undergoing a legislative audit. Even if this audit uncovers efficiencies that the department can implement for potential cost savings, these savings will not effectively offset the transportation fund deficit we are expected to see over the next decade. Every year that we postpone a serious solution for transportation long-term funding, we cost taxpayers money, both in project delays and increased car maintenance. As with our conservative reforms, I believe we need to make the hard choices now to help our state continue to flourish in the future.

You have been a great leader for Wisconsin in fiscal responsibility. It is my hope that you will continue that leadership as we begin transportation discussions over the next several months. I ask that we truly and honestly keep all options on the table if we are to honor what the taxpayers sent us here to do. I would also like to extend an invitation to you and your staff to attend a Ride Along with me in my district to view some of the state and local roads that are in desperate need of repair.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this very important issue.

With deep respect,

Keith Ripp

42nd Assembly District