Milwaukee Biz Blog: GOP Transportation Budget: Same As It Ever Was

How did we get here?

“And you may find yourself
Living in Zoo Interchange traffic
And you may find yourself
With the highest amount of transportation debt service ever
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself on a gravel road
With a giant flat tire
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?”

Let’s review how we got here:

  • The 2011 Republican budget authorized a study, borrowed money, and punted on addressing the problem.
  • The 2013 Republican budget received a study, borrowed money, and punted on addressing the problem.
  • The 2015 Republican budget delayed projects, borrowed money, requested another study, and punted on addressing the problem.
  • The 2017 Republican budget proposes delaying more projects, borrowing more money, and one Senator has suggested studying the issue to come up with solutions (aka punting).

The Republicans’ inability to govern and make basic budget decisions has had a high cost to taxpayers:

  • The most recent Republican Transportation Budget included the highest amount of transportation debt service ever.
    • 2014-15: $314.4 million
    • 2015-16: $340.8 million
    • 2016-17: $372.2 million
  • Debt service as a percent of transportation revenue has nearly doubled since Governor Walker took office.
    • 2010-11: 11.5%
    • 2016-17: 20.1%
  • Debt service growth exceeds transportation revenue growth by $32.6 million in 2015-16; and $48.9 million in 2016-17.
  • By the end of this current budget, about $560 million will have been transferred into the Transportation Fund from the General Fund than was transferred out of it. This includes more than $460 million more from the General Fund since 2011 that otherwise would have been available for public schools or the UW System.

State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, represents the 54th Assembly District.

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