Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy 4th weekend, get out on those bumpy roads!

You know that Scott Walker’s “no-tax, no-fee” pose isn’t going over well with the voters when the top Republican in the State Assembly goes on local TV and openly says the Governor is wrong. That happened this week in a Fox 6 report on Wisconsin’s road funding woes, and related to Walker’s public statement that projects in Southeast Wisconsin would be among those delayed due to the “no-tax, no-fee” standard.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who represents an area that includes one of the major road projects, said Walker's plan was "not smart."

"To just delay the projects thinking that somehow the problem’s going to solve itself really flies in the face of reality," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

Vos said he was concerned that the planned expansion and rebuilding of the Interstate 94 "North-South corridor" through Racine County would be further delayed because of Walker's request to the DOT.
The fact that Robbin’ Vos is lecturing others about being unrealistic and ideological is hilarious on itself, but it’s also funny how practicality starts to win out for ALEC’s cabin boy when road builder contributions and local projects start to be jeopardized.

And as the Fox 6 article rightly notes, Vos and the rest of the Assembly have to face the voters this November, while Walker’s term isn’t up till the end of 2018. And like Alan Talaga at Isthmus mentioned, I think Walker’s pose is a sign that he isn’t running for a third term, and instead wants to kiss up to DC oligarchs, and Vos publically opposing Walker is a sign that Robbin’ is thinking along similar lines.

Vos’s counterpart in the Assembly also called Walker a fool for his “no-tax, no fee” stance on roads. Dem Assembly Leader Peter Barca pointed out that the decision of the Governor to avoid the real problems of deteriorating roads has significant costs for the future.
[Tuesday] in his letter to the Department of Transportation, the governor showed he wouldn’t back down from his plan of underfunding the state’s roads and requested a stagnant transportation budget that will end up costing Wisconsinites. The governor claims that of the “most heavily traveled highways,” more than 90 percent of them were rated fair or above fair condition, so spending increases are unnecessary. What the governor failed to mention is that he is only referring to 1,588 miles out of 115,000 miles of roadway in Wisconsin, just 1.4 percent.

Ignoring 98.6 percent of our roadways has taken its toll. Wisconsin has the third-worst roads in the nation, with 71 percent of our roads in poor or mediocre condition, according to the US Department of Transportation. Nearly 2,000 Wisconsin bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

This approach of kicking the can down the road is actually costing the citizens of Wisconsin more money. Under Walker’s plan, costs will continue to escalate as projects are delayed. So far, overruns on highway projects have cost the state $700 million. Just to maintain our current roads, Wisconsin will fall short by $15.3 billion in the next decade.

Equally bad for drivers’ pocketbooks, the national nonprofit TRIP released a report last month stating that poor state infrastructure costs motorists $6 billion a year in congestion-related delays, crashes and vehicle repairs.
But other than that, Scotty’s “borrow and delay till I'm out of office” tactic is working, right Peter?

I keep coming back to this cartoon, because it seems more accurate by the day.

And now I get to hit those battered roads to see family tomorrow, and Summerfest on Sunday. Hopefully the vehicle stays intact. Enjoy it wherever you're at!

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