Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Record shows Governor Pothole worked hard for the title

It's time for a short course on why Walker is the Pothole Governor.

Let me begin with what an anonymous commenter left me on this recent post:
Walker's starved road budget produces annual $673 driver repair tax
Gee, we agree with your observation, it's bad. Yet this is common public knowlege that has been ou there for quite a while. It's great that you're sensitive, but it sure helps us all when you notice these things as they happen. We all live in a political environment, and have to react to things in real time.
January 2, 2018 at 11:03 PM
The post had been a follow-up to this item examining why Walker is the Pothole Governor:
Potholes, punted planning, postponed projects expose Walker politically  

Now I can't tell if the comment was sarcasm, or criticism from a reader who thought I've been tardy in noticing what's going on out there.

So in case there are people who need a refresher course on Walker, potholes and the state of our under-funded roads, let me point out that:

*  I have often called attention to a move by Walker in his role as then-Milwaukee County Executive that led to more unfunded highway building in SE Wisconsin that inevitably starved road-building and repairs statewide, as I noted in 2015:
Walker motion in 2003 tripped off SE highway overspending
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.
So it's important to remember that Walker - - as Milwaukee County Executive - - played a key role in 2003 on a SE regional planning commission advisory committee which voted, without a companion financing plan, to recommend to state highway planners that Wisconsin add to the SE 'freeway' system the maximum number of new lanes among the alternatives considered - - 127 miles of lanes instead of 108 - - in what ultimately became a $6.4 billion package.
Walker's motion added an estimated $750 million to the ultimate price tag and also increased the number of structures and amount of land removed from the tax base.  
Here is an early 2017 posting, among several, on the same subject:
Walker began highway funding mess with highway financing-free 'plan'
Is any reporter going to ask Walker why he did what he did?
And as to the potholes' consequence?

A 2014 post:

Fix the potholes? Wisconsin pols buying more lanes instead
A particularly tough winter has battered the pavement, motorists' nerves and wallets. Potholes, everywhere, with some worthy of building permits and environmental impact statements, but has the state, awash in surplus dollars, directed added funding to local street repair budgets that have been getting routine, budget-season reductions?
Even in a $43 million supplement of highway spending?
The Government/Road-builder Complex run out of the State Capitol, and in satellite offices in nearby trade associations and lobbying shops, has chosen instead to pour extra millions of our tax dollars into more new lanes - - big-dollar projects that will, after a freeze-thaw cycle or two acquire their own axle-breaking-tire-popping cracks, splits and degradation.
Why not fix what we have first?
Because there are bigger profits to pocket and ribbons to cut and news releases to Tweet when adding new lanes than fixing the cracks and holes with lower-profit asphalt. 
A 2015 post
With giant potholes, freeway in Walker's Wisconsin hardly free
We've noted on this blog here, and here the degradation of local roads as Walker's budgets starve municipalities of revenue, but yesterday on a warm, but by no means blistering spring day on the regional 'freeway' system north of Milwaukee built and maintained by the state, there were monster potholes damaging vehicles and shutting down traffic that were monsters:
Milwaukee County Sheriff’s officials say on Sunday afternoon, some large potholes [on I-43N] caused at least six vehicles to suffer flat tires. We’re told some of these potholes were six feet long by 18 inches wide by six inches deep.
Walker keeps talking about exporting his model and methods nationally. With Wisconsin's roads falling to third-worst among the 50 states, you might want to boost your auto insurance before heading to the polls:
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.
The primary culprit: State budget cuts that have slashed the amount of money dedicated to repairing both state highways and local roads, which has left fewer than half of Wisconsin's roads rated as "good" or better, the report found. 
Also from 2015:
Fresh pavement fail shows potholes in Wisconsin road priorities
You must live on the International Space Station if you didn't know that Wisconsin roads are sporting potholes which appear to be created by land mines.
Yet while the state keeps building politically-enabled and pricey new lanes and wider ramps - - have you recently driven through the perpetual $1.9 billion 'improvement' to I-94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois border, or the $1.7 billion Zoo Interchange battle zone? - -  the condition of Wisconsin's roads are now rated third-worst in the nation, data show.
So how telling was it yesterday that busy State Highway 45 north of its connection to the Zoo morass was closed for hours because huge potholes had opened up on the pavement:
The holes grew to nearly five feet by five feet -- a major traffic concern for motorists.
How would you like to run through at highway speed a pothole big enough to hold a couple of refrigerators?
And that's the second time in recent weeks a major Southeastern Wisconsin 'freeway' was closed for emergency repairs because of dangerously large potholes. 
From a 2016 post:
Billions for new freeways in Wisconsin/pothole nation 
The road-builders make a lot more profit laying concrete than they earn filling potholes and repairing existing roads, so our infrastructure continues to deteriorate while Walker and WisDOT are  throwing billions into the SE WI 'freeway' system  - - as seniors and millenials drive less.
Noted in 2013. 
Wisconsin taxpayers should not be footing the bill for highways that aren’t needed, especially when other urgent transportation priorities like local road repair and transit are being shortchanged,” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG Director.  “Especially in light of reduced levels of driving, these findings suggest the need to reconsider whether highway expansions are the best use of our scarce transportation dollars.” 
Noted also in 2014. 
Noted also in 2015.
Among several posts in 2017:
For Foxconn, Team GOP bets your farm, breaks you bank(s)
Note, however, that Walker tossed 250 million borrowed dollars into the $3 billion deal for Foxconn via the state budget whenever its approved to hurriedly complete the over-built, under-funded reconstruction and expansion of I-94 though Racine and Kenosha Counties which Vos had been demanding even before Foxconn made the news.
Two things about a quarter of a billion dollars which Walker is treating like campaign support Kohl's cash:
*  Is $250 million in dedicated borrowing for highway work right through portions of Vos' district enough of a concession to get him off Walker's back; Walker will never budge off the no-new taxes bumper sticker he needs to frame his '18 re-election campaign, so maybe it's time for Vos to to take the $250 million bouquet and live with being another modern Wisconsin borrow-and-spend Republican.
*  $250 million could have filled most or all potholes on our state's rutted and poorly-ranked roads, which is why it would be useful to ask the good people of cash-strapped Northfield, Wisconsin across the state from Vos' district where the main road has crumbled back to gravel what they think about Walker and Co. throwing around staggering amounts of public highway borrowing like kids at the county fair ring-toss booth which all the people of the state will have to repay.
And there are more posts. Use the index box, upper left, and insert keywords like Walker potholes roads spending.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like, like, like this post. Thanks