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Feb 9, 201701:18 PMTransportation Matters

with Debby Jackson

When it comes to state roads, just fix them already

(page 1 of 2)

Wisconsin has some of the worst roads in the country. That has been confirmed yet again by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. Compared to our neighbors in the Midwest, the condition of our roads is embarrassing. The audit illustrates that about 32% of Wisconsin’s highways are in good condition. In comparison, Indiana has the best ranking in the Midwest of 75% in good condition, and Iowa is the lowest non-Wisconsin state at 55%.

Saying that Wisconsin is lagging behind would be like saying the Cleveland Browns didn’t make it to the Super Bowl this year. The gap is staggering.

Also, consider this: Wisconsin has the second most transportation-dependent economy in the country. Indiana’s economy is the first.

This is why people across the state have been calling on our elected leaders to do something about this situation. It is time for action not excuses.

Now, some are using the findings of this same audit as the latest rationale to disinvest in our transportation infrastructure. You see, this audit points out that in addition to having awful roads, the Department of Transportation didn’t account for construction inflation and other factors when providing estimated costs of major highway projects. As a result, projects ended up costing significantly more than what the original price tag said they would.

The audit raises a very legitimate issue. Think about when you buy a house. There are truth-in-lending laws that make sure you know what the cost of financing your house is over 15 years versus 30 years. The lawmakers should demand that they receive the same type of information on the front end. It would also help them better quantify the cost of deferring and delaying projects.

Whether our elected officials should have done better at asking questions or the Department of Transportation should have done a more thorough job laying out the total picture can be debated. Truthfully, there is shared responsibility.

In the end, we still have the worst roads in our region and the third worst in the entire country. Finger pointing doesn’t change that. If there is anything taxpayers are tired of it is exactly that. We just want progress made on the problem.

If there are efficiencies to be found, then find them. If there are best practices that can be implemented, then implement them. If we need to raise additional revenue, like Iowa and Michigan have and Indiana is considering, then raise it. If we need to do all of the above — as I believe we clearly do — then do it. We rely on the people we elect to solve problems.


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Feb 9, 2017 03:22 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

It's a year before election -- so you know Scotty Walker will not raise taxes so he better find a way to budget for it, same for the other elected officials. The terrible roads are costing additional money for car repairs because of the pot holes and constant repair jobs on the roads.
Enough is enough!

Feb 16, 2017 02:50 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I question the road data- I currently am bistatial - live and work in Madison and my family is in Michigan in the new house- the federal study that ranked Wisconsin near the bottom ranked Michigan in the middle! Michigan is far worse- I mean the roads are rubble including main drags like 94 and in many places street signs are not even replaced. (I am not talking detroit I am talking the rest of the state and around ann arbor which is the equivalent of Madison) I am not saying we do not have problems and we do not need major repairs to our roads but I smell a special interest group cooking the numbers.
By the way every time I see the words Michigan Miracle I feel like screaming. Things are so much worse there you do not want to use it as a model as the state seems to be doing.

Feb 18, 2017 04:04 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Maybe if each one of us starts a personal lawsuit against SCOTTY for damage to our cars we will tie up the courts enough that he'll get the message but I doubt it. Unfortunately the residents of this state must be dumber than SCOTTY and all the rubbish we call elected officials because we keep electing people who do nothing for us. People wake up. I live on a very meager income and I don't care if the gas tax goes up so we can fix the roads. To put it in perspective, your yearly tax portion would probably be the cost of a few beers. Stop being so stupid and selfish. You want infrastructure fixed- it costs money! Only Scotty and his dumb congress thinks things can be done with mirrors. Maybe he can steal more from our children when people again aren't paying attention. Or I guess we can all let him continue to kick it the can down the road until the can falls thru a pot hole. Better yet maybe SCOTTY's car falls thru a pot hole . . . that would be the best. Maybe then he would notice.

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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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