Sunday, December 31, 2017

Potholes, punted planning, postponed projects expose Walker politically

Gov. Pothole has allowed Wisconsin's roads to decay to 2nd-worst in the country, costing motorists repair penalties reaching an estimated $700 annually in the Milwaukee area, data show. 

Which is why you will find Walker on Twitter self-servingly touting initiatives and achievements and cherry-picked data points, and routinely coopting every shared cultural or sports totem and icon in the state, and even displaying what burger or beverage he's half-consumed, like this June 1, 2014 close-up of what appears to be a grilled burrito? - - 
Photo on 2014-06-01 at 21:31.jpg

- -  but you will not see him bragging about how well he's managing the roads.

Worse, Walker's failure as party leader to resolve GOP-infighting over how basic transportation needs will be funded (and to that crew, 'transportation' means roads, so forget already-dismissed and degraded transit, bike and pedestrian services) will be intensified by his election-year Foxconn monomania that is further eroding the state's entire transportation network.

So think of a stretch of road full of potholes with an expanding sinkhole underneath, and that's what Walker and one-party GOP rule have given people across the state for a 'transportation system.'

We deserve better.

Case in point: the major Dane County's highway corridor known as the South Beltline.


The basic facility is outdated, even hazardous, and while more growth and congestion are predicted in the corridor, Walker has been told by the feds who pony up the biggest funding share of such projects that it would be wasteful right now to even finish spending on a study to address the long-term issues: 
...the Highway Administration warned the [Wisconsin] DOT last year against advancing the Beltline study to the environmental phase, saying it “does not believe the timing is right to initiate another project in the (environmental phase) when there are so many other projects that are further advanced and should be completed.” 
It's the consequence of Walker's abandoning policy stewardship and government leadership in favor of maintaining at all costs his key campaign talking point: always saying he never approved a tax increase, even if the outcome is rutted roads and project delays and a mockery of transportation coherence.
The state budget enacted in September didn’t provide a revenue infusion for transportation, leaving such funds in short supply through 2019 — and causing Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to curtail its road-building ambitions.
Also curtailed: riding Wisconsin roads without hitting potholes that will loosen your fillings, burst your tires and break your shocks.

Unless your road project has the word "Foxconn" on it, Walker has no interest in funding it. 

The Foxconn financial diversion folly Walker has opened in state highway funding includes a special, fast-tracked $30 million, and another $134 million drained from other projects statewide, and another borrowed $252 million billed to future taxpayers to finish slowed I-94 North/South improvements near and into the projected Foxconn complex.


Plus - - Walker hopes to cover that $252 borrowing with a Federal infrastructure grant from the Federal government even though Trump and the GOP-led Congress just deeply and permanently cut the flow of money into the Treasury so top GOP donors could get to keep more of their money.

Which is needed to fund big highway projects. 

Remember, the The South Beltline project, if ever launched, could cost $1 billion. 

Meanwhile, the Zoo Interchange remains incomplete.

I-94 East-West widened lanes past Story Hill have already been withdrawn, because that's another $1 billion that doesn't exist and which opponents would have tied up forever in righteous litigation..

Much of the vaunted, $6.4 billion Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Freeway System expansion and reconstruction never got into the ground.

And transit systems are run on shoestrings.

Bottom line: Walker is extremely vulnerable statewide on having punted basic revenue-raising obligations, keeping the roads repaired, and managing projects without chaos.


Walker and the GOP should be called out on this every day.
 

3 comments:

Golden Eagles said...

Brilliant!

James Rowen said...

Thank you. Let's hope for a smoother 2018.

Mark Bye said...

2012 Ford Edge w/ 65k miles. Just put the third set of tires on it last week, along with the second alignment this year. Not to mention the lower tie rod end replaced earlier this year.