Friday, January 5, 2018

Why no Walker ribbon-cutting on first Foxconn roadwork

Given Walker's fevered love affair with all things Foxconn, you'd have thought he'd have cut a ribbon when road-graders launched the first of hundreds of millions of dollars of Foxconn-related roadwork this week on a two-mile upgrade of frontage road along the Racine County project's site.

But Walker can't highlight the lavish road spending he's ordered for Foxconn right in the middle of pothole season without drawing attention to the road projects statewide Foxconn will drain of funding or push farther down the priority list - - and which will inevitably get more expensive through inflation, or be forgotten altogether. 

As I noted last month when the first $30 million of new state money for Foxconn-related roadwork was announced - - and that projected total with borrowings for I-94 north and south now exceeds $400 million - - 

I'm sure the Governor will spin the gaudy $30 million for new highway construction his allegedly cash-strapped WisDOT just gift-wrapped for Foxconn as just another win for Green Bay, and I'm not talking about a "w" for the 7-6 Packers.
...Walker is using our money to bet his re-election on convincing taxpayers far from Foxconn's site in SE Wisconsin that what's good for Mount Pleasant there is good for Mount Horeb, Mount Hope and Mount Calvary, too:
Taxpayers paid for a thinly-veiled Scott Walker re-campaign visit to Green Bay last week, as our right-wing Governor and Foxconn bellhop keeps trying to convince taxpayers far from the Racine-to-Chicago Foxconn gravy train that they will benefit from the $3 billion in public subsidies collected from taxpayers statewide that Walker is shoveling to Foxconn at the expense of programs and growth in all 72 counties...
Send Walker back when the winter thaw leaves Brown County with a few thousand new potholes that can't be repaired because I-94 near the Foxconn site needs another lane.
Or, Walker will will duck the road spending disparity altogether, since he's got state-paid drivers to shuttle him around on roads that have crumbled on his watch to second-worst in the country.
Paying for front-end alignments and new tires is for the little people.
And every unfilled pothole, every suspended project, every road that has been allowed to degrade to gravel - - a real thing - - every transit system starved of adequate financing on Walker's watch statewide calls attention to the reality that Wisconsin under Walker has no viable transportation financing plan because Walker has blocked or vetoed every effort to rationalize transportation planning and construction with long-term funding.

Even though non-partisan state fiscal experts said the results of that inertia would be more roadway deterioration.

Why is Wisconsin in this absurd, counter-productive, axle-breaking, motorist-hostile, tourist-unfriendly and development-discouraging position - - long-documented by non-partisan experts in "Filling Potholes" and other studies?

How is that denial of reality has been allowed to be the reality when it comes to obtaining and maintaining reasonable roads and bridges and transit systems in the state, as noted by the American Society of Engineers whose findings I cited this week:
Wisconsin Infrastructure Overview
While the nation’s infrastructure earned a “D+” in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Wisconsin faces infrastructure challenges of its own. For example, driving on roads in need of repair in Wisconsin costs each driver $637 per year, and 8.7% of bridges are rated structurally deficient. Drinking water needs in Wisconsin are an estimated $1 billion, and wastewater needs total $6.33 billion. 157 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential. The state’s schools have an estimated capital expenditure gap of $836 million. 
This deteriorating infrastructure impedes Wisconsin’s ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Success in a 21st century economy requires serious, sustained leadership on infrastructure investment at all levels of government. Delaying these investments only escalates the cost and risks of an aging infrastructure system, an option that the country, Wisconsin, and families can no longer afford.
What has happened is that Walker continues to govern through his 'no-new-taxes-ever' re-election talking point in his permanent campaign that guarantees the perpetual proliferation of potholes:
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. 
Walker even got rid of his own transportation secretary, civil engineer and legislative transportation expert Mark Gottlieb a year ago for having the temerity to do his job and recommend after careful study tax and fee increases which contradicted the Walker mantra.

Read this excellent history of Gottlieb's demise, here.

Gov. Scott Walker’s transportation secretary is stepping down less than a month after he told lawmakers Wisconsin’s roads would worsen under the GOP governor’s plans... 
Gottlieb has served as transportation secretary since Walker was inaugurated in 2011. A civil engineer, Gottlieb has at times called for increasing taxes and fees to pay for highways... 
Aides to the governor were frustrated by his testimony, sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The 2018 election is the only chance we have to begin to repair the damage caused by Walker's ideologically-driven neglect of the state's infrastructure, to the environment he is supposed to manage as the people's trustee and public finances which are critical to the state's success. 

If he is re-elected, and continues to match his right-wing agenda to Trump's, it will take another generation on top of Walker's twelve damaging years as Governor to perhaps salvage our once-progressive state.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how quickly they are jumping to accommodate FoxConn while at the same time pushing other highway projects to the back burner. I am not really feeling the love from our Gov.

pjgertz said...

Walker has admitted he has been preparing Wi for 'foxconn' for the past six years. Anyone who has followed the foxconn sees that there is no positive thing about it and is only getting worse for WI. Maybe Walker thinks he will run and win the presidency in 2020 and be able to leave WI behind and live in DC.???