QUESTION: What do you think of Gov. Scott Walker and WisDOT’s recently released proposal for the 2017-19 transportation budget?
Terry McGowan, president and business manager of Local 139 of the International Union of Operating Engineers: “The governor says that with this transportation budget, the backbone highways will be in fair or better condition. The backbone system he references consists of 1,588 miles out of a total of 115,000 miles of roadway in Wisconsin. That means only 1.4 percent of our road system will be in fair or better condition, completely ignoring the remaining 98.6 percent of our roads, when they are so critical to our agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and forestry industries. This in spite of last year’s USDOT study which concluded that 71 percent of Wisconsin’s roads are in poor condition, making us have the third-worst rating in the country.”
Robert Dennik, vice president of VJS Construction Services, Pewaukee: “I think the governor is on the right path! We have such a challenge with roads and bridges. The governor and legislature will find a happy medium as to what to do on roads! We need to get through the silly season first!”
Jim Hoffman, president of Hoffman Construction, Black River Falls: “A 71 percent cut to the southeast Wisconsin mega-funding stream and an 18 percent cut to majors represents a giant step backward for Wisconsin’s economy. The governor’s transportation budget sends the message that Wisconsin is not open for business.”
John Schulze, director of government and legal affairs at the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin: “The DOT agency request includes what everyone knew it was going to contain. Before any conversation about revenue increases can take place, we need to make sure that all efficiencies that can happen do happen to stretch taxpayer dollars as far as they can go, in particular repealing prevailing wage on all road projects and the ‘county swap’ proposal.”
Chris Stamborski, assistant director of municipal services at R.A. Smith National, Brookfield: “I applaud the responsible spending and the desire to return more to the local programs as well. With that, it’s hard to stomach the idea of the Zoo Interchange extending out further. The zoo is tied to so much commerce in the state it would be better to just get through it.”
Dan Bukiewicz, president of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council: “I don’t think the plan addresses the problem of how to fund the needs of our transportation infrastructure moving forward. The cost of waiting on some of the projects will cost more than if a funding means were to be put in place in the next budget.”