Avatar
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Transportation funding need or greed?

Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 14, 2020

By M.D. Kittle 

MADISON  — Millions of people play the lottery for the chance to hit it big. Few win. 

So why is it so amazing that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation received a total of $1.4 billion worth of applications for $75 million in one-time grant funds? 

Transportation bureaucrats and lobbyists, the same people shaking down taxpayers (and fee payers) for billions of dollars more in road funding, insist local governments statewide have “urgent” transportation needs.  

DOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson sounded amazed but not surprised that his agency received nearly 1,600 eligible applications for the Multimodal Local Supplement program. 

“This process truly demonstrates the significant needs of the local system,” Thompson told the Wisconsin State Journal. “It’s pretty staggering when you see the actual number of projects and their dollar values.” 

News flash: Governments of all kinds will always insist they are starved for money. Even when they receive massive infusions of cash, as the state’s transportation agency just did.  

The DOT’s 2019-21 budget grew by $600 million in state funding alone, pushing the agency’s total two-year budget to north of $7.25 billion. A good chunk of that money is going to local transportation projects — including the fresh $75 million in additional funding through a competitive application process. 

When government lobbyists tell you “the needs are unquestionable,” question the source of the assertion. It is their job to advocate for more money for their members and, as Empower Wisconsin noted last week, taxpayers are paying for that service. 

Guess who else insists the state’s transportation needs are many? Wisconsin’s road builders, who eat well off of taxpayers-funded road projects. The transportation interests, of course, are breathing easier these days. Thompson is one of their own. He led the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin for years before being tapped by Gov Tony Evers to serve as Transportation secretary.

Need? The trough feeders of transportation will always plead poverty. But if DOT offered $1.4 billion in one-time grant money, chances are there would be billions of dollars in “urgently needed” requests. 

Listen to more:

Explore More
Cuomo’s lockdown U-turn

Cuomo’s lockdown U-turn

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the king of COVID lockdowns, did a U-turn this week, insisting that the Empire State “cannot say closed until the vaccine hits critical mass.” 

Read More »

January 15, 2021
The good, the bad, the bizarre of Evers’ State of the State

The good, the bad, the bizarre of Evers’ State of the State

Missed the State of the State on Tuesday night?  No problem.  We’ve got you covered. Here is the good, the bad, and the bizarre.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
Evers’ vaccine fiasco leaves Waukesha County in limbo

Evers’ vaccine fiasco leaves Waukesha County in limbo

The Evers administration’s botched COVID-19 vaccine rollout has left Wisconsin’s third-largest county waiting for answers and some of its most vulnerable citizens pushed to the back of the vaccine line.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
A brief history of Anthony Fauci failing up

A brief history of Anthony Fauci failing up

To ensure that AIDS would be his exclusive demesne within the federal government, Fauci “started the most important bureaucratic battle in the history of the fight against AIDS,” squeezing out more scientifically competent, but less conniving administrators.

Read More »

January 15, 2021
State employee meetings, training back on

State employee meetings, training back on

Updated guidance from the Division of Personnel Management now allows for “in person meetings, trainings and conferences up to a maximum of 10 individuals.” 

Read More »

January 14, 2021
Vaccine panel: Prisoners before the elderly

Vaccine panel: Prisoners before the elderly

Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when has become a major point of conversation and contention as the Evers administration appears overmatched in leading statewide vaccine distribution efforts.

Read More »

January 14, 2021
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *