Friday, January 9, 2015

State project delay could indicate politics, or fiscal sanity

It is not clear why there's a delay in a plan to build WisDOT a $200 million palace on Madison's West side while the agency's road-building budget has an even bigger shortfall.

Is it because of objections to reckless, politiczed spending embraced by the purported fiscal conservatives running state government, or is there a more nefarious explanation, as The Capital Times discusses today:

Walker may try and eliminate the state's building commission where such projects are publicly reviewed, thus further consolidating his decision-making power and the influence of the GOP legislative majority to simply approve building projects with quick, almost-guaranteed floor and budget amendment approvals.

I'd criticized the WisDOT office building project plan here and here.

And I'd also warned that Walker was indicating he planned to eliminate a similar state panel - - the Transportation Projects Commission.

The TPC reviews highway construction plans and offers a barrier to pure pork-barrel spending that rewards lobbyists or donors or misrepresented local needs needs to the exclusion of the state's overall budget and priorities.

And Walker already gotten the legislature to give him power to approve or kill administrative rules and to sell state assets, so there is currency to the fear that he may have yet another power grab in mind that will allow him to push through the palace and dictate a contractor with less public scrutiny and independent vetting.


Anonymous said...

Is there any doubt that his consolidation plans do nothing more than consolidate more power in his hands but he will sell it as more efficient and cost saving government! It will merely give him more opportunities to reward his masters!

Anonymous said...

The article in the CapTimes is a must read. Here are some quotes:

“Hill Farms is in my district and I can’t even get anything out of DOA on what is going on,” said Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison). “Nobody will return my calls.”

[Assembly Democrat Gordon] Hintz says members of the Building Commission at its last meeting in August asked if the state had sought real estate appraisals for those properties but were unable to get answers.

“It’s just been crazy,” he said. “It got to the point where I felt like I was harassing them.”