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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.
WISPIRG is one of many members of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT), which includes environmental organizations, faith and social justice groups, public transit advocates, and others. This week, CMRT is holding a Week of Action to draw attention to the need for better public transportation in Wisconsin. One of the ways we’re doing that is by asking transit riders across the state to share their public transportation stories with us. In this guest post, our summer campaign associate Macklyn Hutchison writes on her conversations with transit riders about their experience with the public transportation system.
Gov. Tony Evers today signed Wisconsin’s 2019-21 biennial budget, which includes positive steps to accelerate the state’s transition to electric vehicles and invests in Wisconsin’s local transportation infrastructure, including public transit.
This is the second of a two-part guest post on public transportation in China, New York City and Wisconsin from Pei Wang, who interned with us this spring semester.
As the legislature takes up the state budget this week, a coalition of consumer, civil rights and environmental organizations urged decisionmakers to prioritize investments in public transportation and local road maintenance, and to reject any new highway expansion projects in Wisconsin’s transportation spending plan.
To kick off our 21st Century Transportation blog, we're featuring a two-part guest post on public transportation in China, New York City and Wisconsin from Pei Wang, who interned with us this spring semester.
Transportation | U.S. PIRG
Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does our state rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?
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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