Craig Thompson, Gov. Tony Evers’ appointee to lead the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, told state Senators at a public hearing on Wednesday that “by every measure the condition” of Wisconsin’s transportation system “is declining.”
Thompson said Evers’ budget will call for spending more on roads but didn’t specify where the additional money would come from. Evers has said he would call for raising the state’s 32.9-cents-per-gallon gas tax by an unspecified amount. Republican leaders, in contrast, have said they favor finding a way to use toll roads.
Thompson said the budget would place a priority on repairs before taking on new projects.
Republicans have been leery of Thompson’s background as a lobbyist for the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, which has advocated for raising taxes and fees to rebuild Wisconsin roads. Senate Republicans have resisted the idea of raising taxes or fees for road work, favoring more borrowing instead.
Evers, when asked on Wednesday about Thompson’s chances of confirmation, said he expected him to win approval.