Friday, April 14, 2006

The End of the World, Part 2

We told you that Frank Busalacchi's screech would not be the last one.

Here's Chapter 2:

[Paving industry lobbyist] Walker said the $94 million budgeted for Milwaukee-area freeways next year includes $50 million for resurfacing and bridge repairs, and only $44 million to begin needed reconstruction. That's too little to make a dent in an area freeway reconstruction project that planners estimate will cost $5.9 billion over the next two decades, he said.

Walker did not suggest a way to annually raise the additional $250 million, which equals more than half of all collections for vehicle registration fees - now $55 a year for a car or SUV.
Bob Cook, executive director of the Transportation Development Association, echoed Walker's comments about the funding shortfall for Milwaukee-area freeways.

But Cook added: "There's absolutely no funding mechanism for it."

Delays in providing more stable, reliable sources of income for transportation systems statewide will turn today's problems into "tomorrow's gridlock," Cook said.

...Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) said Thursday there is widespread agreement that more cash must be found to rebuild southeast Wisconsin freeways, but there is no agreement on where that money will come from.

The gas tax is the single-biggest source of state transportation funds and is projected to bring in $1 billion in the year beginning July 1. But high gas prices and more fuel-efficient vehicles may lower that income, officials said.

And, Zepnick said, any long-term solution to the state's transportation problems must include a "stable, dedicated source of money" for Milwaukee-area mass transit systems.

Well, Josh, the fund would be a hell of a lot more stable if the Governor stoppped STEALING it.

A former state Transportation Department official, Walker said the interstate highway sections that will have to be rebuilt and expanded first are: I-90 between the Illinois border and Madison; I-90/94 between Columbia and Juneau counties; I-94 between Jefferson County and Madison; and I-94 between Eau Claire and the Minnesota border.

As any fool can plainly see, these sections of road are falling apart. Semi-trailer trucks literally disappear into the potholes. Whole families have gone missing for months when their Mom-a-Van dropped off the face of the roadway...

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