Letter to the Editor: Wisconsin’s Impoverished Infrastructure, A Testament to Republican ‘Leadership’

It’s a tale of kicking the can down the road: postponing necessary expenditures and claiming you’ve saved taxpayers lots of money. It’s a tale of false claims. Here’s a portion of the summary of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ assessment of Wisconsin’s roads, which it graded D+.

“Wisconsin encompasses more than 115,000 miles of drivable roadways. More than one-third of these roads are in fair or below condition, and deterioration is likely to continue over the next 10 years. If additional funding is not provided, 50% of the roads may experience increasing pavements rated at poor or below. More than two-thirds of major roads, concentrated in urban areas, were rated as fair or below in roadway condition. 

“Deficient roads cost drivers $6 billion annually due to wear and tear on vehicles, wasted fuel due to congestion and the overall cost of crashes on roadways. There is an estimated $13 billion shortfall over the next decade if roadway improvements are not funded. Roadway features in Wisconsin are likely a contributing factor in approximately one-third of fatal traffic crashes. This is tremendously significant to drivers on rural roadways throughout the state, where the fatality rate doubles the national average.”

This is how Republicans saved you money over the past decade. Can we now get back to paying as we go, recognizing that there are public goods that we all want and need, that make our daily lives better and that require investment and maintenance? Not doing so, as the report notes, costs us not only money, but it results in more traffic delays, accidents and fatalities.

We need to recognize that there is a legitimate role for government in our economy, society and lives. More than a decade of Republican “leadership” has left us with a lower standard of living – with rural areas particularly disadvantaged – and lots of work to do to catch up. That’s where postponed essential government expenditures leave you. That’s where André Jacque’s and Joel Kitchens’ “leadership” gets you. Let’s restore Wisconsin. Let’s vote them out.

Carol Jensen-Olson

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin