LETTER: Senator ignored facts praising road policy, attacking Gottlieb

To Ozaukee Press: In his letter to the editor published in last week’s Ozaukee Press, Sen. Duey Stroebel used a collection of misleading and irrelevant statistics to argue that all is well with Wisconsin’s transportation system. Unfortunately, he ignored the facts that are most meaningful to the highway funding debate. Just since 2010, debt service on transportation borrowing has doubled, while spending on state highway construction has declined 25%. And if current policies are continued, the miles of state highway in poor condition will nearly double in the next 10 years. This trend of borrowing more and building less is not sustainable for the future. But if analyzing budgets isn’t your thing, just drive down I-43 to Milwaukee or on I-94 between the Marquette and Zoo interchanges at rush hour and ask yourself if you can live with that for the next 30 years, because that’s the path we’re on. After investing millions on preliminary work, plans to expand those freeways have been indefinitely postponed due to lack of funding. We should also prepare for more disruptive and wasteful band-aid repairs, while more permanent improvements are delayed due to lack of funding. This is true throughout the state. Stroebel’s attack on my performance as transportation secretary is also off base. The costs of every one of the 16 projects he refers to as going over budget were estimated prior to when I became secretary. In fact, the two largest projects begun under my watch, the Hoan Bridge and Zoo Interchange, were both completed at or under their original cost estimates. Several independent studies have demonstrated that more investment is needed to provide a safe, efficient and well-maintained highway system, and so-called “reforms” alone won’t change that fact. Doing nothing may save you a few dollars a month (if you don’t have a crash or repair due to bad roads), but it won’t get us where we need to go. Mark Gottlieb Port Washington

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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