Wednesday, April 9, 2014

DOT hearings on Transportation future start up (extra info added 5:35pm)

Quick PSA here, as the Wisconsin DOT is having hearings throughout the state on how to fund this state's many needs. It's called Transportation Moves Wisconsin, and there will be a series of town hall meetings this month led by DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb that (unlike a Scott Walker "business appearance") the public is invited to attend.

Among the meetings coming up are

Today (April 9)- DOT SW Region office, Madison 5-6:30
Tuesday, April 15- WisDOT NW region office, Superior 5-6:30
Wednesday, April 16- UW-Eau Claire campus, Centennial Hall 5-6:30

Given the fact that this state has over $1 billion of unfunded projects in the next state budget that the current governor didn't take any steps to pay for, it might be worth it to check it out. And that $1 billion was before the tab from this polar vortex winter came due, including massive amounts of water main breaks and potholes that run up local expenses above what was budgeted.

It's one of the biggest issues lurking that the people who care about policy and outcomes in state government (which includes Gottlieb) know has to be addressed, but none of the politicians seem to want to touch. Stay tuned to see if something drops out of this in the coming months.

EDIT: And here's another example of the extra needs that cash-strapped local governments are facing from this winter, courtesy of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
Twenty-one Wisconsin cities with populations greater than 10,000 responded to a survey conducted by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. Those cities alone estimated total additional costs caused by this past winter to exceed $5.1 million.

“The leaders of Wisconsin’s cities and villages have had to make tough decisions based on variables that are as changing as a Wisconsin winter,” said Curt Witynski, assistant director for the League. “Some municipalities haven’t factored in additional paving and pothole costs yet, and they still have to plan for November and December when the cold returns.”

For some cities, their overtime budgets for 2014 are already exhausted, and most note that they spent between 30 and 50 percent more on snow and ice control activity than in previous years. Water main breaks have been more than twice what they are in a typical year, with several public works departments noting that they haven’t seen the last of the breaks, given how deep the frost line is.
May I remind you that the only assistance our "surplus-rich" state has given for these extraordinary expenses is $43 million to speed up work on state highways- not a dime for local road repairs.

You can read all of the responses on the extra winter road maintenance by clicking right here.


  1. Jake, what's up with this new St Norbet poll claiming Walker is up fifteen points in the Governors race?! I was really hoping we could win this one after that last Rasmussen poll showing the race tied!


  2. What's up with that poll? A vote sample of +5 Republican in a state that's voted Dem in every presidential election for the last 30 years.

    If we learn anything from Nate Silver, it's to AGGREGATE poll data. Average those 2 polls and you have Walker +7.5, around where other recent polls are. Of course, if Burke would actually be out there mentioning the $1 billion in Transportation deficits and massive debt Walker's policies have caused, that lead would be a lot less (if it existed at all).

    And who's this "we" you're referring to? Nice username