5/16/18 – WIZM News Talk (La Crosse)
It can no longer be debated. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is more concerned about not raising the state’s gas tax than he is in fixing the state’s crumbling roads.
Walker didn’t even mention transportation needs as a priority when he spoke at last week’s Republican party convention and outlined his plans for a third term. Perhaps that is because Walker doesn’t have a plan to develop a long-term solution for identifying road funding money.
This is hardly a new issue. Five years ago, led by the then DOT Secretary, a commission confirmed what two prior studies had found; that the state’s roads are rapidly deteriorating and there is not enough money to fix them. And things certainly haven’t gotten better since.
The fight over transportation spending ground debate over a state budget to a halt last summer. While a number of key lawmakers, including republicans, have called for raising the gas tax or creating toll roads as a way to raise needed revenue, Walker continues to dig in his heels. He refuses to recognize that borrowing to pay for only the most essential road work and putting off other projects only means the costs will go up in the future. Meanwhile, our roads continue to get worse.
It is estimated that without more money, 42% of Wisconsin’s state highways would be considered poor or worse condition by 2023, nearly double today’s rate. We won’t see any improvement until Walker finally decides to get his head out of the sand and provide real leadership on this issue.