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Aug 11, 201402:20 PMTransportation Matters

with Debby Jackson

One issue we can (almost) all agree on this November

(page 2 of 2)

If you are dieting and you have a soft spot for potato chips (Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar are the best), then make sure you don’t have them around the house. I even have science on my side. According to Medical News Today, “Precommitment, defined as ‘the voluntary restriction of access to temptations,’ is a ‘more effective self-control strategy than willpower,’ say researchers from the Universities of Cambridge in the UK and Dusseldorf in Germany, in a report published online in the journal Neuron.”

In fact, most of our neighboring states as well as the majority of states in the U.S. have already helped their elected officials “precommit” by constitutionally restricting the use of transportation user fees.

All joking aside, this is an important issue for the future of our transportation system in Wisconsin. While this constitutional amendment will not solve all of our transportation funding woes, it will restore the faith of users of the system.

Our elected officials have given all of us the opportunity to fix this situation. On Nov. 4, we simply need to vote YES for Transportation.

If you want to find out more about this, you can go to If you really like what you see, you can order yourself a Vote Yes for Transportation bumper sticker.

In addition to serving as executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, Craig Thompson is also secretary for the referendum committee Vote Yes for Transportation.

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Aug 13, 2014 12:32 am
 Posted by  Mrbillsbrain

Mr. Thompson,
Thank you for getting the word out on this important referendum. Even though this transportation fund was originally called the Highway Trust Fund as your letter indicates whenever a non principled politician, Governor or entire party sees a pile of money they can't be trusted with the temptation to make it their own is too much for them to resist.
I agree wholeheartedly with user fees and asking the users to pay their fair share. If this is passed a constitutional amendment it could enhance, stabilize and make careful planning much easier and predictable.
Personally, I'd like to see all transportation users pay proportionately into the system- bicycle, motorcycle,city and intra city bus, boating, trains, etc as well as the gas tax, registration license fee, truck and bus fees levied. Using or more accurately abusing the user fee by subsidizing transportation museums, highway beautification, bike paths and bridges is a subsidy for wants and not need- and should be eliminated or have yearly license fees, contributions pay for these "extras" that so few people actually use by the people who do use them. It would simply take a bit longer to get these wanted but not needed extras.

Aug 20, 2014 10:05 am
 Posted by  Matt Logan

It is odd that we need to amend the constitution to protect against a supposed economic harm that proponents cannot quantify. How much the interest on the 2009 bonding is going to cost taxpayers is indeed an interesting question, but is the interest rightly categorized as a harm to transportation users? After all, a lot of that money went to keeping schools open and operating with minimal cuts. We all benefited from that spending - so why is paying interest on debt accumulated for that spending a bad thing?

And if we are going to start having everyone pay for what they use, the most urgent need is to address the fact that only 17% of local road costs are funded by user fees on automobile enthusiasts. The sheer volume of roads suggests we need a doubling of gas taxes in order to arrive at a true user pays system. Once we have addressed this yawning chasm that allows motorists to steal billions of dollars from general revenues, then we can address the other issues, like bike path funding, which accounts for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the diversions.

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About This Blog

 Debby Jackson assumed the role of executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin after more than 15 years with the organization. In addition to her vast experience in association management and transportation advocacy, Jackson has a background in business. She leverages the breadth and depth of her professional experience, along with her knowledge of the membership and mission of TDA, to be a strong voice for robust transportation infrastructure in Wisconsin. Jackson started her career as a staff auditor with Price Waterhouse, which led to a series of accounting and corporate management positions with a major national retailer.

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