Friday, February 9, 2007

All That Highway Spending...and We Still Get a D!

Well, a D+, according to a report on Wisconsin infrastructure this week from The American Society of Civil Engineers' Wisconsin division.

I guess the report is aimed at urging Gov. Jim Doyle to give the road-builders gobs more millions, billions maybe - - but that's pretty hard to do, since a) we've already added more new highways in recent years than most states, b) pay for it with the second-highest gas tax per gallon in the US of A, and c) face a projected gap in the major highway budget plan statewide of about $5 billion.

The engineers said the best part of the state's infrastructure was its energy supplies, earning Bucky a B, but our roads got the lowest grade among the other ten categories.

So remember when you're navigating the Marquette Interchange, or hopping on all the new roads from southeastern Wisconsin, through central Wisconsin and north on Highway 41 to the Michigan state line that for some folks, it's close to a failure.


James Wigderson said...

All those damn buses in the way.

xoff said...

I think it's because there are still a few communities with a population of 1000 or more that don't have a bypass.

Rich Eggleston said...

First of all, never believe anything an engineer tells you about public policy.

For example, if they say our bridges are inadequate, chances are they're not really inadequate for you or me, they're just a trifle too narrow for two 18-wheelers going 55 mph to safely pass each other on the bridge. And then they convince officials to buy their malarkey.

Bad news.

Second, if you look at the report (it's worth at least a glance), you'll see that Wisconsin didn't get a D+ for bad roads, it got a D+ for the governor's veto shifting transportation fund money to education.

Engineers may not care about kids, but they do care for the people from whom they take orders. And above all, they worship the sacredness of the transportation fund.

As to roads, "In the past four years the physical attributes of the State Highway System have improved..." the report says.

Of course, the engineers add a caveat: "...However, the improvements are not on a pace to meet the goals" which happen to have been set by a bunch of engineers.

This might seem to be a classic case of circular reasoning.

If you think that, obviously you're not an engineer.

As we all know, Abraham Lincoln in his dedication of the Gettysburg Bridge (later demolished to be replaced by one that meets Interstate standards) said that "Government of the engineers, by the engineers and for the engineers must not perish from the earth."

Or something like that.

Rich Eggleston