My wife, Michelle, and I built our house about 12 years ago now. One of the things that appealed to me at the time about building new was not having the unexpected cost of home repairs that older houses can stick you with. (The other thing that appealed to me was that Michelle told me, “We are building new.”) Well, all you homeowners out there know that there is no such thing as a “new” house for long.
WITH DEBBY JACKSON
R.E.M. initially released its single “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” in 1987. The refrain line has since become part of our nomenclature for describing various seismic shifts in our world. When it comes to transportation, this expression is extremely apropos in 2013, thanks to a lot of innovators – some from Wisconsin. Take a look at a couple of the exciting things Wisconsin-based companies are doing and the tremendous impact they will have on the transportation world.
As Gov. Walker works on putting his next two-year state budget together, he has asked each of his cabinet members to submit a proposal based on a 0% increase for their respective departments. Makes sense. At least start from that premise and then see what adjustments are necessary. Right? Well, the Department of Transportation followed directions and submitted its no-increase budget. It is definitely instructive.
As Americans, we take pride in making things. We also have gotten pretty good at wallowing in things, as well. While there is no doubt the United States faces some significant challenges – many of our own making and some a result of external factors – we seem obsessed these days with proving we understand just how bad things are. If I hear one more analogy to the Roman Empire, I think I am going to be sick. Ditto if I again hear the tired line “we used to make things in America.” You know what? We still do make things. We still do it pretty damn well. And you know what else? That is especially true here in Wisconsin.
A lot of different things come to mind when you think of Wisconsin. The Packers, cheddar, the Brewers, Colby, the Badgers, Gouda, the Dells, havarti, Whistling Straits, Asiago, the House on the Rock, Parmesan. For some reason, unlike our fellow Americans on the East and West coasts, not many cheeseheads identify our ports or the fact that we are surrounded on three sides by water as one of our state’s distinguishing traits.
There is a pretty good chance you haven’t heard that Congress recently passed and the president signed a national transportation bill. The same week that the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) and Congress voted to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, they somehow managed to come to an agreement on a surface transportation bill that determines federal policy and funding for roads and transit systems in this country.
Does anything convey the image of summer like a bicycle? In “Girls in Their Summer Clothes,” Bruce Springsteen paints the picture: “Well the street lights shine. Down on Blessing Avenue. Lovers they walk by, holdin' hands two by two. A breeze crosses the porch. Bicycle spokes spin 'round.”
These days it seems like we can argue over just about anything. The only thing that everyone seems to agree on is that we need more jobs. Start talking about how we accomplish that, however, and all hell breaks loose. Some arguments are to be expected. Markets and the economy are tricky things, with very smart people holding many disparate opinions about what actions stimulate or retard growth. Some arguments, however, can make your head hurt.
In my inaugural blog post for Transportation Matters, I thought I would start by explaining, in the broadest sense possible, why the quality of our transportation system matters to our success as a state and nation. But if you are one of the millions who have been glued to the TV in recent days watching March Madness, you will already know that UPS has done that for me.
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.