Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Scott Walker's road-repair whopper on MSNBC morning show

The MSNBC Morning Joe panel on Wednesday asked Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker - - audio, at "Walker on Trump: His actions will matter" - - how he'd spend infrastructure money which President Donald Trump may propose in 2017, and while Walker declined to say how much new such federal spending would offend his fiscal conservatism, Walker said he would spend Wisconsin's share as he had always prioritized such work - - "fixing and maintaining existing infrastructure " and not spending such funding on "grandiose things."

Which is false.

While he pivoted to the high-speed rail line he successfully blocked in 2011, there's no way Walker can argue he's always supported a so-called fix-it-first transportation budget, as have organizations like 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and WisPIRG and others who back balanced transportation spending, conservation-based land use and responsible fiscal planning.

Walker, as I have repeatedly pointed out, has been a long-term backer and active sponsor as Governor of the $6.4 billion Southeastern Wisconsin regional freeway reconstruction and expansion plan which has led to extensive borrowing and starved other projects statewide in part because it adds 127 new lane miles, wider off-ramps and other big-ticket items:

Updated, 6/22] Outstate Republican legislators still griping about out-of-control highway spending in Southeastern Wisconsin - - check the record in this item reposted from last week:  
Walker led the charge for unsustainable overspending on highways in SE WI that you now don't like. 
The Wisconsin Legislature is grappling with a state highway budget unsustainably bloated by reckless borrowing and overspending on the so-called SE 'free'way system - - a problem that has helped stall the entire state budget process while preposterous presidential hopeful Scott Walker keeps skipping out to campaign from Iowa to New Hampshire and beyond.
Which is why local and state roads not at the freeway or Interstate system level, starved for repair dollars under Walker, have deteriorated to fourth-worst in the nation.

More here.

If Wisconsin genuinely had a fix-it-first approach - - and not the Legislative/Gubernatorial/Road-builder-Mutual Admiration Society in and around the State Capitol that costs you hundreds of dollars per capita every year in new tires and shocks - -  we'd not have fallen so far from our road-repair 22nd worst ranking which we'd had just a few years ago.

Check this 2015 news story out:

Wisconsin's roads are the third-worst in the nation and the potholes and other problems that plague them cost drivers in some cities almost twice the national average in repairs and associated costs, according to a new study of the state's highway system.
The numbers mark a dramatic decline in road quality. As recently as 11 years ago, Wisconsin's roads ranked No. 22 in the nation, and their deterioration affects almost every industry and motorist in the state, according to the study commissioned by the Local Government of Wisconsin Institute.
Poor roads in the Milwaukee area cost drivers $700 a year in extra vehicle repairs, according to the study; in the Madison area, road conditions cost drivers an additional $615 in annual tire wear, maintenance and accelerated deterioration. Nationally, substandard road conditions cost drivers an average of $377 per year, the study found.
And it's more than just the transportation spending drain caused by the SE Wisconsin freeway not-so-free program, which isn't even half finished and has several billion of un-budgeted billions to go.

Walker and his WisDOT were also pushing another highway widening - - not a repair to an existing road - - about an hour north of Milwaukee which was so egregiously unsupported by authentic data that it was halted by a federal judge.

There's a similar battle over widening a suburban/rural state highway being fought in areas of Waukesha and Washington Counties where I'll bet Walker gets 80% of the vote.
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As I pointed out earlier, Walker will take any new federal transportation funding - - regardless of how strongly he and his party attacked the same approach from President Obama - - and dump into his deficit-ridden highway expansion budget, and if there's anything left over, local governments might get a crumb for pothole repair.

But politics, happy road-builders and their legislative friends over potholes, as State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos noted when he said he wanted a segment of the SE Wisconsin freeway plan finished though its validity has been challenged.

Vos underscored his personal take on the project: 

 “I want the (I-94) North-South to be finished. There’s literally a bottleneck right in the middle of my district.”

1 comment:

Betsy Svilow said...

What a COMPLETE ASS.... Rail is the future AHOLE.