Rough road ahead for transportation

County joins in state-wide resolution drive to call for increasing road funding

With a recent study putting the condition of Wisconsin’s roads in the bottom third of the country, members of the Taylor County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday signed onto a resolution calling for sustainable funding at the state level for road maintenance projects.
According to supervisor Lester Lewis, the goal of the resolution is to show broad support for the state to increase the gas tax so that there is more money available for road upkeep. “All counties, towns and villages and cities are being asked to adopt it,” he said, noting the hope is to put 2,000 of them on the desks of people in Madison.
However, the resolution met with some opposition at the county board level. “I have a problem with this resolution,” said supervisor Mike Bub. “Where does it guarantee that money is spent for more rural roads? How do we know they won’t raise the gas tax to spend more money in Dane, Milwaukee and Racine counties?”
He said he felt the resolution should have included language to require any increase to come back around the state rather than go to fund projects at the state level.
“I want to make sure we get our share of the pie back, I don’t think we are getting our share of the pie,” Bub said.
According to Lewis, the state already has a formula in place on how transportation money is spent. He said the problem is the state reduces the amount available by bonding to cover the cost of major projects in the southeast corner of the state. “More than 20 cents of every dollar goes to pay debt,” Lewis said. He said the governor has talked about finding efficiencies in places to cut but he said it just means taking it from another part of the budget such as Medicaid spending.
“We can no longer borrow our way out of this,” Lewis said.
See this week's issue of The Star News for the complete story.

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