A report released yesterday (pdf) by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) asks why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is pushing four non-essential highway projects that may cost the state up to $2 billion after proposing deep budget cuts to public schools and local government?
PIRG charges that Walker's new transportation spending plan irresponsibly favors highway construction at the expense of public transit and road maintenance. Walker is proposing to cut 10% of the transit budget, roughly $10 million, despite recent research suggesting that service reductions have made workplaces harder to access in metropolitan Milwaukee. He also plans to cut $48 million in local road maintenance funding, although 43% of the state's roads received a "less than good" rating in a 2008 report. (Its bridges could use some work too, with over 8% deemed "structurally deficient.")
Meanwhile Walker intends to increase highway construction spending by 13%, which PIRG describes as an unfair trade to the people of Wisconsin.
(More on Wisconsin's transportation spending . . . )