Leading Democrats at the Wisconsin statehouse are calling for the governor to take immediate action to address much-needed funding for transportation projects and infrastructure needs across the state.
The move follows the announcement by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that five major projects across the state will not happen anytime soon due to cuts in the two-year budget approved by Gov. Scott Walker.
Democratic state lawmakers want the Republican governor to call the Legislature into special session to authorize additional funding for road construction and repairs.
They cite a July 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation that ranked Wisconsin the third-worst state for transportation infrastructure. According to the study, 71 percent of the state’s roads are listed in poor or mediocre condition and 14 percent of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
The governor, however, has said there is no plan for a special session. Instead, Walker said money is available for the projects via bonding that the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee must approve.
Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, urged the governor and her colleagues to join her in working toward a long-term transportation funding solution.
“Potholes, traffic delays and safety hazards are taking their toll on Wisconsin motorists,” Shilling said in a letter to the governor. “There’s a real cost to Wisconsin families if we ignore these problems and kick the can down the road.”
The governor said he remains committed to not increasing the state’s fuel tax rate to raise revenue for roads.
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