An awful lot of Wisconsin's highway spending smells a lot like pork.
EDITOR: Should Wisconsin increase the gas tax by 5 cents? And charge motorists 1.02 cents per mile? And jack up car registration fees by $20? And apply the sales tax to vehicle trade-ins? And boost registration fees by 73 percent for freight trucks? And rack up another $3.54 billion in debt over the next 10 years — $618 for every man, woman and child?
You read that right: All six of these additional levies would be needed to pay for everything on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's wish list.
But Gov. Scott Walker and Mary Burke aren't talking about it. Nor are the other candidates for state office. Even worse, they aren't telling voters how they would cut spending.
All we have is the highway lobby insisting Wisconsin needs a Constitutional amendment to protect its piggy bank from raids. Oh, and it needs a lot more revenue, too.
But throwing more money down a transportation black hole won't solve our problems. WisDOT is still steering by looking into the rearview mirror, and an awful lot of highway spending smells an awful lot like pork.
The poster child of wasteful spending: WisDOT's $1.1 billion expansion plans for the 3.5 mile-long Brewer Stadium section of Interstate 94 in Milwaukee. Not only has driving in the region fallen by 20.9 percent between 2006 and 2011, but also the latest poll from the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission reveals overwhelming support for more transit rather than freeway expansions.
But a freeway-obsessed WisDOT shows no signs of changing course.
Will Wisconsin's next governor stop this billion-dollar boondoggle in Milwaukee? Will he or she put the brakes on other wasteful freeway expansion projects, adequately fund local road maintenance and invest in our growing needs for transit?
And speaking of transit, isn't it about time Wisconsin authorized regional transit authorities?
Voters have a right to know!
Move Wisconsin Alliance/Sierra Club Wisconsin - Clean Transportation Committee,