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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.
This new report explains how school districts and utilities can work together to acclerate the switch to electric school buses, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of the kids that ride them everyday.
Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day waking up every morning, Gov. Evers gave Wisconsinites a case of déja-vu when he announced this past summer that he was resurrecting the project to expand Interstate 94 East/West in Milwaukee. We don’t want to wake up every three years to the announcement that the I-94 expansion will be resurrected. This renewed attempt to expand the highway isn’t a good idea for Wisconsin.
The proposed I-94 E-W highway expansion, estimated to cost $1 billion, is an illogical use of taxpayer dollars.
Today, on the 55th anniversary of Ralph Nader's landmark "Unsafe at Any Speed," about the built-in dangers of 1960s cars, as exemplified by the General Motors Corvair, his colleagues led by Joan Claybrook have published a new report: "Safer Vehicles and Highways: 4.2 million U.S. Lives Spared Since 1966." The report makes recommendations to President-elect Joe Biden about how to revitalize and strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which Claybrook ran during the Jimmy Carter administration.
WISPIRG Foundation was joined by the city of Racine's sustainability & conservation coordinator, Cara Pratt, along with other local experts and policymakers, to discuss the impacts of diesel pollution on public health and our climate, the myriad benefits of switching to electric buses, and the lessons we can learn from Racine's electric bus success story.
WISPIRG opposes Gov. Tony Evers’ recent pledge to resume a billion-dollar expansion of I-94 that then-Gov. Scott Walker scrapped in 2017. Research tells us that adding highway lanes rarely results in congestion relief — instead, it draws more traffic, increasing our dependence on cars and putting an unnecessary burden on the climate and on taxpayers.
Transportation | U.S. PIRG
Seventeen pedestrians and two cyclists were killed every day, on average, in traffic crashes in 2018. PIRG Transform Transportation Campaign Director Matt Casale explains that cyclists face a dilemma: walking or biking are convenient and pollution-free modes of transportation, but they're also dangerous in a world that's been built car-first.
Tools & Resources
Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s FutureWISPIRG
Coalition for More Responsible Transportation Letter to the State Legislature
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