Falling-down Interstate highway bridges and a stopped agricultural and logging economy.
From the North Woods to the croplands and dairy farms of central Wisconsin, transportation is becoming a battleground as cash-starved local governments say they can no longer afford road maintenance costs, and businesses buckling under the weight of recession say they need a dependable transportation system now more than ever.
"I've never, ever seen it to this point where it's one township right after another. All of a sudden now, they just don't have the money to do the road work," said Henry Schienebeck, a third-generation logger and executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association in Rhinelander. He's operated logging trucks for 26 years.
Same problem affects manure-hauling for farm fields.
And how did all THAT happen?
Since 2003, $1.2 billion has been transferred from the transportation fund. The state has borrowed about $800 million to make up for the loss, but the transportation fund faced a net drop of $434 million, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
"We feel like we're paying a lot of money into that transportation fund. We don't think the transportation fund ought to be raided every year," Schienebeck said. "That money needs to go back into the infrastructure."
One wonders where Jimbo Doyle intends to retire. He sure won't have any friendly neighbors unless it's in Madistan or someplace far, far, far away from Wisconsin. But I repeat myself.