21st Century Transportation

Wisconsin can’t afford more extravagant highway projects, especially when urgent local road repair and transit needs are being neglected. It’s time to get our transportation priorities straight and invest Wisconsin taxpayer dollars wisely, not wastefully.

Highway Waste Undermines 21st Century Transportation in Wisconsin

Demand for transportation alternatives is skyrocketing, and our roads and bridges are crumbling. Yet instead of meeting our changing transportation needs, our state budget continues to funnel billions of dollars into shortsighted new highway projects.

We need a transportation system that reflects and supports the way we want to travel now.

With gas prices up and lifestyles changing, we are driving less and taking transit, walking, and biking more.  The average Wisconsinite drove 500 fewer miles in 2010 than in 2004, and between 2001 and 2009 young people’s travel on public transportation increased by 40% nationwide. Meanwhile, recent reports found that 1,100 Wisconsin bridges are structurally deficient, and 43% of our roads are in “less than good” condition.

By shifting our transportation budget away from expensive new highways, we can invest in efficient public transportation systems like intercity rail and clean bus systems, and make sure that our existing infrastructure is safe and functional for decades to come.

Unfortunately, the highway lobby and big road construction firms won’t easily let go of their high-priced, taxpayer-funded highway contracts. They’ve lobbied hard, and Governor Walker has listened — he has increased spending on new highways at the expense of everything else.

With state leaders considering the next two-year budget, now is the time to fight for Wisconsin’s transportation future. With enough public support, we can overcome the road builders and their lobbyists, and make sure Gov. Walker and state leaders get behind a transportation plan that will best benefit Wisconsin taxpayers.  
 

Issue updates

News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

U.S. DOT Report on Infrastructure Needs Overstates Future Increases in Driving

The US DOT seems to be stuck in a bizarre time warp.  For nine years in a row Americans have decreased their average driving miles. We haven’t seen an annual increase of even one percent in total vehicle miles since 2004. Yet, US DOT forecasts that total vehicle miles will increase between 1.36 percent to 1.85 percent each year through 2030. That doesn’t make sense.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Course

Across America, colleges and universities are showing that efforts aimed at reducing driving deliver powerful benefits for students, staff and surrounding communities. Policymakers at all levels of government should be looking to the innovative examples of these campuses. Universities and college towns also provide useful models for expanding the range of transportation options available to Americans while addressing the transportation challenges facing our communities.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Like UW Madison Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like UW Madison are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released on Feb 6. 

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Blog Post | Transportation

Support SB259 - Supporting Better Transit in Wisconsin | Bruce Speight

Testimony by WISPIRG's Bruce Speight in support of SB259, which would allow the Fox Valley to create a Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Municipal leaders across Wisconsin are eagerly seeking better transit in their communities for its economic development benefits, to appeal to a new generation that is less focused on driving, and to connect workers to jobs.  Efficient public transportation systems would make Wisconsin’s transportation future better for everyone by reducing traffic congestion and pollution and increasing our options for getting around.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Transportation in Transition

Americans’ transportation habits have changed. The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004. A review of data from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Census Bureau for America’s 100 most populous urbanized areas – which are home to over half of the nation’s population – shows that the decline in per-capita driving has taken place in a wide variety of regions.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Spending Gone Wild on Questionable Projects

Despite promises to eliminate government waste and fix potholes, Governor Scott Walker has taken an ax to state aids for local road repair and transit services, while proposing four highly questionable highway projects that could end up costing Wisconsin taxpayers over $2 billion.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Myth Busted: Road Costs Not Covered by Gas Taxes

A new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group titled "Do Roads Pay for Themselves?" disproves the common misconception that road-building is paid for by user fees, showing that gas taxes cover barely half the costs of building and maintaining roads, a fraction which is likely to fall steadily.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Local Leaders to DOT officials, Gov.-Elect Walker

A broad coalition of local buisness, government, environmental, and public interest leaders gathered last night to express their support for inter-city passenger rail in Wisconsin. Their statements were a prelude to a public meeting hosted jointly by MnDOT and WisDOT to gather public input on the future of passenger rail connections between the two states. The group's message to DOT officials, and to Governor-elect Walker is clear: suppor for rail is strong across the state and especially in the Chippewa Valley. The message was reinforced by over 200 attendees who came to the meeting.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Why WI Needs Passenger Rail! New WISPIRG Study Provides Evidence of Economic Growth, Development and Jobs Worldwide

Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from WISPIRG shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

New Report: High-Speed Rail "Part of the Solution"

A new report puts clear numbers and a clear vision on how high-speed rail will boost the Wisconsin and Midwest economy, reduce highway and airport congestion, reduce dependence on oil, and protect the environment.

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