Thursday, August 23, 2007

State Highway 41 Work To Cost More Than Redoing The Marquette Interchange

The next time you see some upstate legislator or alligator-tear shedding highway contractor griping about Gov. Jim Doyle's 'raid' on state highway dollars, consider this interesting piece and accounting in the Daily Reporter:

Improvements and widening to State Highway 41 - - and some of this is the legacy of former Assembly Speaker and highway lobby pal John Gard (R-Peshtigo)- - are scheduled to cost more than the $810 million budgeted for the Marquette Interchange project.

Says the Daily Reporter:

"There is no shortage of major state road projects on the horizon."

And apparently, no shortage of financing for those road projects, as the priority in Wisconsin transportation policy continues to favor construction over repairs.

And certainly over transit, particularly when it comes to demonized and cash-starved rail projects or expanded investments statewide in bus systems.

Milwaukee County is among a handful of major bus systems nationally without a dedicated source of funding beyond the property tax, or a state-supported regional transit authority.

Road repairs, maintenance, transit are all short-changed in Wisconsin because legislators prefer standing side-by-side with road-builder contractors cutting ribbons at highway dedications, rather than at less-sexy bridge inspection sites or bus barn ground-breakings.

And the same politicians have been bullied by talk radio into avoidance altogether of nearly every rail plan, whether trolleys, light rail or commuter rail.

So don't fall for the Assembly Republicans caterwauling about raids on the transportation fund if there's more money budgeted for Highway 41 rebuilding than what's happening where three Interstate Highways converge at the Marquette Interchange.

1 comment:

Steve Branca said...

Not to mention basic maintenance.