The road-builders and their friends were massaging the media a little while ago, fretting that Wisconsin didn't have enough money to deal with all the road work we are said to need.
The answer: tolls.
Comes the Federal government - - the same entity regularly bashed by Republicans and other small-government (wink, wink) advocates - - telling us via the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that every state in the Union now gets back from the feds more money in highway aid than it sends in through the gas tax.
We got back $1.27 for every dollar sent in fuel taxes to DC, so how, with this surplus, could the state be in a highway-funding shortfall?
That doesn't make us the richest "donee" state, but the data shows us doing better than plenty of other states, including every one of our neighbors, and plenty of their neighbors.
Could it be that the scale of road-building in progress, and on the books in Wisconsin is grandiose and unsustainable?
That we don't know how to budget, plan, spend wisely?
In Wisconsin, regardless of party, though we starve transit for ideological reasons, we do loves us our highways.
The SE freeway reconstruction and expansion is a $6.4 billion program. There's another billion in the works for another lane on I-39/90 from Illinois to Madison and perhaps all the way to the Dells.
The big-design, full Hoan Bridge replacement is set at perhaps $350 million. And there are countless new road projects being cooked up at the DOT, as local streets decay and bus systems wither.
We don't need tolls. That will only keep the beast fed - - no, overfed.
We need a genuine balance between roads and transit - - something we do not even approach - - and we need fiscal conservatism when it comes to the state's road-building binge - - something the conservatives [sic] running the show in Madison forget when the road-builders are involved and the lobbyists come a-callin'.