Local Assembly Members React to DOT Audit

By WSAU News

MADISON, WI (WSAU) -- The conversation around road construction funding in Wisconsin took another turn with the release of an audit by the independent Legislative Audit Bureau revealed a $3 billion shortfall in cost for projects already underway.

Representative Pat Snyder (R-Schofield) says the Republican Assembly members had pledged to put $300 million more into transportation on top of what the Governor was budgeting for, but this revelation makes the situation more dire, and he's against borrowing any more funds to put towards transportation.

"We have so many delays in construction. The projects themselves were sometimes a little too far reaching and not focused on the maintenance of roads," said Snyder.

"If there's a way the Governor can show us that we can achieve the goal of less bonding and getting the transportation fund up so we don't wait 70 years to have a functional highway system, then I'll listen to it all the way. 

Governor Walker has promised he will not sign a bill that increases fees or taxes, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has again said that Wisconsin is doing too much with too little.

Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) is a member of the Joint Finance Committee, and she says this is a symptom of failed policy for several years, as seen in the declining quality of Wisconsin's highways.

Shankland said, "According to the International Roughness Index, only 32% of our roads are of good quality, and we rank the lowest in international roughness, in fact, out of all six midwestern states."

Shankland will argue for less borrowing in the new state budget, which she says accounted for 20% of the transportation budget in the last legislative session.

She said, "Kicking the can down the road is obviously creating even more potholes, and I feel like our state government, led by Republicans, are writing checks that our state can't cash."