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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.
A bipartisan group of senators met Tuesday afternoon to prepare for a vote planned Wednesday on a $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that aims to boost federal investment in U.S. infrastructure, including billions for roads, clean water and power infrastructure, according to media reports.
The United States is in need of an infrastructure overhaul.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report confirming that our society is on track to do irrevocable damage to the planet — unless we dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions. To do that, PIRG is working to electrify America's transportation, end federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, curb waste pollution, and more.
The Biden administration has announced plans to strengthen fuel economy and emissions standards for vehicles, despite industry lobbyists' push for weaker emissions rules. The transportation sector is America's No. 1 source of greenhouse gas pollution, which continues to threaten public health and contribute to global warming.
WISPIRG and more than 20 other public interest organizations have penned a letter asking U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to review and ultimately halt the proposed I-94 expansion in Milwaukee. Research shows that expanding highways often ends up exacerbating traffic congestion (and the air pollution it causes) rather than alleviating it.
President Biden's infrastructure package takes a fix-it-first approach toward repairing the nation's highways and bridges, and includes key provisions for expanding electric transportation, getting the lead out of drinking water, and strengthening the electric grid.
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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