A full 30% of the state’s Transportation Fund gets distributed to local governments through general transportation aids, transit operating assistance, and other programs. The Transportation Fund’s 2 primary sources of revenue, fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, are flat or declining. Governor Walker’s 2015-2017 state budget proposal does not seek increases in user fees or taxes for transportation. Instead, it relies on $1.3 billion in bonding to pay for state highway construction projects.
The only way to reverse this trend and address the looming shortfall in the Transportation Fund is to increase existing user fee rates or implement new transportation revenue. The Wisconsin Legislature must pass a state budget that includes long-term, sustainable transportation revenues capable of meeting state and local transportation needs.
A safe, efficient, and well-maintained transportation system, including transit, is critical to Wisconsin’s economic prosperity and quality of life.
The condition of Wisconsin’s highway system is below average. The pavement on less than half of it is rated good based on smoothness.
There are 35 states with highways in better condition.
In the state’s 15 urbanized areas, only 15% of the highway system is rated good. Just over half is considered acceptable.
Wisconsin needs to reverse its chronic underfunding of our state and local transportation system.
If Wisconsin is to compete successfully with other states for jobs and workers over the next 30 years, it needs high-quality infrastructure and transit systems.
We applaud the Governor’s recommendation in his state budget proposal to fund the four percent increase provided for in the last state budget for both the general transportation aids and transit operating assistance programs.
We are concerned, however, that the Governor’s budget proposal fails to present a serious long term plan for addressing the shortfall in the transportation fund and instead recommends $1.3 billion in borrowing to pay for current highway projects over the next 2 years.