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Jun 1, 201711:41 AMTransportation Matters

with Craig Thompson

Recalling the transportation and economic lessons of Tommy Thompson

(page 1 of 2)

There is a noteworthy project going on right now to celebrate and, more importantly, learn from the 14-year term of Governor Tommy G. Thompson. The project, called Tommy@30, includes an academic conference that was held on May 23 in Madison, a gala on September 18 in Milwaukee, and a 90-minute documentary.

There is, of course, a lot of nostalgia and walks down memory lane that are a part of this effort, but there is also a tremendous amount of learning that can come from studying the term of the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin’s history. Thirty years after Governor Thompson was first elected seems like an appropriate amount of time to be able to assess the effects of some of his signature policies. The academic portion of this effort should not be undersold.

As a person who advocates for sound transportation planning and policy, I was excited to hear about this project. Providing a transportation vision for Wisconsin was certainly one of the hallmarks of the Thompson administration.

Mobility 2000 was an ambitious plan for every mode of transportation in Wisconsin that a tremendously popular governor, beginning his second term, threw his energy and political capital behind. At the official unveiling of Mobility 2000 on April 20, 1991, Governor Thompson laid out his vision: “Today I am pleased to unveil a comprehensive initiative that addresses the transportation needs and challenges critical to Wisconsin’s continued economic success.”

A key component of Mobility 2000 was Thompson’s plan to improve the highway connections under what he called Corridors 2020. The governor went on: “This comprehensive approach to transportation began in 1988 when I proposed the Corridors 2020 initiative — the plan for a 3,400-mile network of upgraded quality highways connecting our economic center to global markets.” This program also created the Local Road Improvement Program to assist local governments struggling to upgrade their roads.

Governor Thompson ultimately got his vision passed and implemented, along with the funding to pay for it. The results of this incredible undertaking are well documented.

The Tommy@30 project is specifically concentrating on three signature issues: welfare reform, school choice reform, and job creation. While transportation isn’t specifically broken out, it obviously is an effective transportation plan and a building block for job creation.

Between 1990–2001, 88% of all new and expanded manufacturing facilities chose to locate within five miles of a Corridors 2020 highway.

Businesses knew what the plan was and under what schedule it was going to be implemented, and they responded. They located where they could efficiently move their products, they created jobs, and economies across Wisconsin flourished.

(Continued)

Old to new | New to old
Jun 1, 2017 05:09 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well said! Tommy is and was the Man when it came to promoting Wisconsin! Onward and Upward, let's get 'er done!

Jun 2, 2017 12:20 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Well Said! It is time to put politics aside and get'er done! Wisconsinites have had enough of driving on these horrible roads. Think of the potential for more accidents and deaths on our highways.

Jun 7, 2017 01:09 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

"Businesses knew what the plan was and under what schedule it was going to be implemented, and they responded. They located where they could efficiently move their products, they created jobs, and economies across Wisconsin flourished."

And if we had cut back Thompson's plan by 25%, there would have still been enough investment to attract businesses, while at the same time, not breaking the transportion budget in 2017.

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About This Blog

Craig Thomspon is the executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. Founded in 1971, the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin promotes the vitality and safety of the state's transportation system, including public transit systems, public-use and general-aviation airports, railroads, commercial ports, and roads. Thompson also serves as secretary for the referendum committee Vote Yes for Transportation. www.TDAwisconsin.org and www.VoteYesforTransportation.com.

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