Debate over funding road projects in Wisconsin heating up as projects outnumber funds

Lawmakers on both sides searching for solutions

There are two seasons in Wisconsin: winter, and road construction. With the snow melting, orange cones and road closures are around the corner.
But the future of funding road repairs in Wisconsin is uncertain. And lawmakers on both sides are searching for solutions under the threat of project cancelations.
Lawmakers say we've reached a point in Wisconsin where there are more road projects than there is funding.
As they prepare to talk to voters about this year's budget proposal, they're also searching for solutions.
On Monday, Republican Assembly Dist. 2 State Representative Andre Jacque (De Pere) is kicking off listening sessions throughout his 21 communities. 
"I think people know they can always give me a call," add Jacque, smiling. 
Jacque says transportation funding isn't a hot topic in his district, but statewide the debate is only heating up.
"There's been talk about gas tax, or registration increases," says Jacque, "there's also been, as the Senate Majority Leader has talked about, moving some money from the general fund on maybe more of a permanent basis." 
Jacque says he likes where the discussion is going so far, with some calling for more focus on local roads projects rather than finding additional funds for major, at times controversial, expansion projects. 
"I'm very pleased that at least the discussion is in the direction of putting more money at the local level," says Jacque, "to fix the local roads that a lot of us are the most concerned about." 
Governor walker has made clear he's against raising the gas tax, but has proposed $500 million in bonding for transportation. 
"We can't fill that hole with more bonding," says Democratic Assembly Dist. 57 State Rep. Amanda Stuck (Appleton). "We can't borrow more." 
Stuck says Republicans need to be open to all options. 
"And we know [Walker's] own administration has said with the budget he proposed that we will see more delays, we'll see more congestion on roads, more costs to the taxpayer," explains Stuck, "because the fact that we'll have to just do more band-aid repairs, instead of full-on replacement." 
With more delays, Stuck says it'll likely take more than one solution.


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