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Letter to the editor: Poor road conditions

Poor road conditions


In February 2018, US News and World Report ranked Wisconsin 44th in the country for its road conditions. The report, based on 2016-2017 data, noted that 31 percent of Wisconsin's roads are in poor condition compared to Minnesota's 10 percent.

The National Bridge Inventory rates the structural fitness of bridges from 0 to 9; 0 indicates the bridge is closed, 9 is a superior rating. Wisconsin's average bridge rating decreased from 6.5 in 2008 to 6.3 in 2016. If this trend continues, we will have increased numbers of bridges closing or imposing weight limits, negatively affecting industries that haul heavy loads. A former County Highway Commissioner notes that 20 years ago he would have 10 or 12 bridge projects going at once, and now it's common for a county to have only one or two.

Most main roads are in good condition now, but smaller rural roads are in dire need of repair. Failure to establish a source of funds for regularly scheduled maintenance and replacement of roads and bridges sets the State up for a crisis in the future with a sudden need for a huge sum of transportation dollars.

Federal and state stagnant funding has failed to keep up with increased maintenance and construction costs. In the last six years Wisconsin's Republican legislature hasn't formulated a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution, relying instead on increased borrowing to meet minimal needs. In 2018, 20 cents of every transportation dollar goes to pay interest on that debt, with the cost expected to be 22 cents per dollar by 2019.


"Deteriorating State of Wisconsin Bridges Adds to Transportation Budget Woes," Wisconsin State Journal, August 13, 2017

"The Transportation Debate: Critics Say Scott Walker's Record on Road Funding Will Be an Issue This Fall," Cap Times, April 4, 2018

"Candidate for Governor Running on Common Sense Solutions," Monroe County Herald, Dec. 11, 2017

Jeanne Larson