Monday, June 5, 2017

So which WI programs get drained for road work?

Our perpetually-campaigning Governor keeps saying that he will trim borrowing, opposes increases in the Wisconsin gas tax or vehicle registration fee and will budget record amounts of money for local road repairs and state highway maintenance.

While also keeping many major highway expansion projects on schedule.

Other than a warehouse filled with magic beans and a serious counterfeiting effort, where is the money coming from as Walker and his party's own legislative leaders can't agree on a financing plan and road-work schedules.

When will we see which education, transit, environmental inspection or health programs they will have to shred to pay for some of the road work?

And just once I'd like to see a mainstream media story reference Walker's role in launching the multi-billion Southeast Wisconsin major highway system expansion which will eventually add 127 miles of new lanes, which has long distorted all state road spending and now may in the pending budget drain public dollars from basic, general purpose social and education programs.

Too distant a memory?

I call it acknowledging the record, as I recently also did with Tommy Thompson's alleged support for all forms of transportation:
Tommy talked a great game about the value of rail, but at a crucial moment Tommy put himself and the City of Milwaukee on a siding, because when these pols talk about "transportation," they really mean highways and nothing else. 
Tommy Thompson pulled the rug out from under the Milwaukee light rail plan he had endorsed and planned with the administration of then-Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist when right-wing, pro-suburban talk radio began blasting Thompson and his light rail coordination.
Interesting, isn't it - - the budgetary and planning havoc wreaked by these two Wisconsin Governors from the party allegedly rooted in fiscal restraint who could never say "no" to their road-builder backers and suburban voting base.

Mind you: Walker is committed to initiating or completing billions in additional big project spending with no long-term financing scheme in place, including:

*An expansion of I-94 north/south from Milwaukee across Racine and Kenosha counties to the Illinois state line, I-94 east-west between the Zoo Interchange, past Story Hill and Miller Park to the Marquette Interchange, I-39-90 north/south from Madison (and perhaps the Dells, and why not just go for broke!) to the Illinois line, and the Verona Rd./151 expansion in the Madison area.

*  And not that the Southeast Wisconsin highway expansion Walker has been pushing since 2003 despite the known lack of dedicated funding, and which is already a drain in the general purpose and transportation budgets, includes many segments yet to get a shovel in the ground, including

*  I-94 east-west from the Zoo Interchange across all go Waukesha County to the Jefferson County line, I-43 from Milwaukee across Waukesha County and all of Walworth County running southwest  to the Illinois border, and I-43 north/south from Milwaukee across Ozaukee County to the Sheboygan County line.

With much ancillary work at various ramps, etc.

It's a huge, partially-reconstructed, barely-funded seven-county behemoth that will cost Wisconsin for decades to come.

Pay attention to the green lines:
The pickle we're in - - second-worst roads in the country, too many big projects to finish on schedule, little train services and transit hanging by a thread - - didn't happen by accident.

A bigger picture look at many of these issues, here.

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