Scott Walker chatted up the morning team on AM 620 WTMJ radio a little while ago and touted his funding abuse, fraud and waste commission whose members he will announce later today.
He declined to get into specifics about task force members' names, but did suggest two fertile areas of scrutiny that they could pursue to yield savings, and the figure of $20 million was thrown out: food stamps improperly in the hands of illegal immigrants and fraudulently spent child care program dollars in Milwaukee County.
No one is in favor of wasted or improperly spent and received public funding, but how convenient that the first two areas that Walker said needed action are programs serving politically-disconnected low-income people.
I have a idea for the commission's attention:
Why have 27 recent highway projects in Wisconsin run over budget by more than $1.3 billion?
Not my figure - - it came from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), the provider of the funding, and was widely reported by the Associated Press.
"The [WisDOT report reviewed 27 projects lawmakers approved from 1989 to 2004 that are under construction. The projects' current total estimated costs are $3.31 billion, up from $1.95 billion when the Legislature approved them.
Several factors have played into the overruns, including a $207 million jump in real estate purchase costs over the last 15 years, a $216 million increase in the cost of construction labor and materials and a $212 million increase in design costs."
$1.3+ billion: now we're talking real money, and remember, road projects have recurring public costs - - repairs, plowing, patrolling and the inevitable expansion.
And thanks to the commenter who reminded me about the $20+ million "Interchange to Nowhere" being built off I-94 in Sprawlville to serve the non-existent Pabst Farms shopping mall in Western Waukesha County.
We'll see if the politically-better-connected road builders see their funding sources come under the Walker commission's wasteful-spending purview.