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

Report Finds Stimulus Funding Decisions Missed Opportunity to Make Progress on Transportation

A new report released today by Smart Growth America, WISPIRG, and UEDA based on official data of the states' American Reinvestment and Recovery Act transportation funding decisions thus far, found Wisconsin in the bottom third of the state ranking for allocations that spur long-term growth  and capitalize on an opportunity to invest in a 21st century transportation system. The report shows that some states are moving aggresively to make badly needed repairs and prepare for a 21st century transportation system. Others are letting their roads and public transportation deteriorate, adding new capacity while they cannot take care of what they have.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Connecting Wisconsin: Public Transportation Projects for the 21st Century

A new WISPIRG study examines ten specific opportunities for enhanced and expanded public transportation across the state and inding that such projects would save Wisconsinites money, boost the economy, and reduce oil consumption.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Wisconsin Mayors Support Assembly Action on RTAs, Discuss Importance of Transit for Growing Wisconsin’s Economy

Wisconsin mayors and business leaders came together on Tuesday afternoon to tout the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) enabling legislation passed by the Assembly, to discuss the importance of enhanced public transportation networks to grow Wisconsin’s economy, and to urge the state Senate to keep the creation of RTAs moving forward in the budget. 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Diverse Coalition Endorses RTA Proposal

With the Joint Finance Committee scheduled to take up Governor Doyle’s Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) proposal Thursday, a diverse coalition of business, labor, municipal, environmental, religious, and public interest organizations have come together to urge the legislature, and members of the Joint Finance Committee, to support the RTA proposal in A.B. 75.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Obama Issues Plan for $8 Billion High Speed Rail Grant Program

Following today’s announcement by the Obama Administration regarding a program that will allow governors to apply for a share of $8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds set aside for high-speed passenger rail projects, WISPIRG and UEDA today applauded Governor Doyle for showing leadership and collaboration in ensuring Wisconsin aggressively pursues funding that will set the stage for future transportation improvements, bring much needed jobs to the region, and put Wisconsin on the path to leading the nation in 21st Century transportation innovations.

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Blog Post

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.

News Release | WISPIRG

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.

Blog Post

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.

News Release | WISPIRG

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.

Blog Post

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 settlement scorecard

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?

 
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