In a post earlier Wednesday about the politics of road-building in SE Wisconsin - - expansion in the face of continuing cuts to transit and purported fiscal shortfalls - - I made this observation:
The threats to transit are taking place while billions in new highway construction roar forward unrestrained.Let me elaborate:
Walker fast-tracked the Zoo Interchange project (in a slightly reduced footprint, but still at an unaffordable cost of at least $1.7 billion) to appease the road-builders and Walker's base constituency in Waukesha County.
But these days, cars are running more efficiently, and the depressed economy has eliminated some driving, leaving road budgets planned without restraints short of money because most of the needed revenue to build them comes from gasoline taxes.
So is the highway budget taking the sort of cut you'd expect in our broke state?
Are you kidding?
The road-builders, serviced by campaign-donation-driven Legislative lap dogs, and by a Governor already double-talking around the issue, are looking to introduce tolls to fund these unsustainable concrete projects and dreams.
Remember that Walker jetted off for a withdrawal at the road-builders ATM when the fellas were sunning themselves in Florida during the 2010 campaign.
All in all, 304 donors listed in the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's data base as "road builders" gave Walker more than $166,000 in the campaign, records show, with the "transportation" category supplying twice that, roughly.
And once the campaign was over, Walker was off again to DC right after he dropped the bomb on state employees for another money fix the road builders helped organize.