Last year was, in some ways, the lost year. While I and Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin (TDA) staff were able to work from home and make significant progress on the association’s priorities, I will remember 2020 more for what I could not do during the year than for what I did.
WITH DEBBY JACKSON
In a year when routines were tossed to the wind and the planning horizon seemed at times to be measured in hours instead of months or years, it was reassuring to have the Transportation Projects Commission (TPC) meet on Dec. 8. Despite the pandemic, the TPC convened to keep Wisconsin moving forward.
I’m happy today to focus on a positive, particularly how the construction industry, including transportation, is pitching in right now to help frontline health care workers in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s rural roads have recently received national attention with a story in the New York Times. However, the problem of deteriorating transportation conditions has been decades in the making.
Route 23 connects the two fastest-growing cities in Wisconsin — Madison and Sun Prairie. Three buses run approximately every half hour during rush hour Monday through Friday. The 23-mile service has 12 stops and takes 30 minutes or so.
People who know me are aware of my slightly contrary nature. I travel my own path.
As the governor signed the state budget, motorists were hitting the road for one of the busiest travel times of the year, the long July 4th weekend.
Wisconsin, like other states, has grappled with how to fund transportation for more than a decade. Earlier this year, the governor put forward a plan that would begin to address some of Wisconsin’s most urgent transportation challenges and cost the average motorist less than $4 a month.
Over time, the cost of most things goes up — food, clothing, rent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and their Consumer Price Index (CPI), it takes about $1.25 today to buy what $1 would get you in 2006.
Wisconsinites are increasingly willing to “Just Fix It” and support a reasonable investment in transportation. This idea is counter to the narrative put forward by some who say while people may not like the condition of the roads on which they drive every day, they don’t want to pay more to fix them.
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.