MADISON – For his entire six and a half years in office, Governor Walker has failed to address Wisconsin’s transportation funding crisis, instead choosing to borrow more and delay scheduled highway projects. His 2017-19 budget is more of the same. Instead of working with legislators to pass a long-term solution, the Governor has spent the past few weeks negotiating via tweet and holding delusional press conferences telling legislators to pass his irresponsible transportation budget or face (wait for it)……project delays!
“It takes a special kind of politician to have the audacity to launch a press conference tour around the state calling on others to fix a problem he created,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh). “At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone with less credibility on transportation funding than our Governor. Anytime a solution is proposed, including by his own Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary, Governor Walker has worked to undermine all solutions.”
The Governor has had four budgets to address the transportation funding shortfall, yet the problem has only been made worse. His most recent budget included the highest amount of transportation debt service ever, and transportation debt payments as a percentage of transportation revenue have nearly doubled since Governor Walker took office. At the same time, projects around the state have languished. These delayed projects include: USH 10 / STH 441 near Appleton; STH 15 in New London; Verona Road interchange in Madison; I-39 / 90 in Dane and Rock County to the Illinois border; the I-94 North/South project, and the Zoo Interchange project. According to the DOT, due to the Governor’s delays of the Southeast Wisconsin Freeway Megaprojects Program, the state will spend an additional $20 million per year just to maintain the deteriorating roads that are supposed to be replaced in southeast Wisconsin. At the pace laid out in the Governor’s budget, it would take 70 years to rebuild needed southeast highways projects.
“Governor Walker is promoting a false choice: pass his reckless transportation budget proposal on time that does nothing to address the funding shortfall and delays projects and increases costs long-term, or face immediate delays in scheduled projects over the next year. Wisconsin deserves better than this. Let’s actually get it done and pass a responsible transportation budget that takes steps fix the mess that Governor Walker and Republicans have made over the past six plus years.”