Governor Scott Walker thinks the state Department of Transportation can find savings that will help fend off a predicted “tidal wave” of road projects the state may face in the future.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a memo written for Secretary Dave Ross in January warns the state will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on temporary repair work in the decades ahead, if reconstruction projects continue to be delayed.
Walker’s proposed state budget continues to delay some state projects. When asked Wednesday whether it makes more sense to address problems long term funding issues in his budget, the governor said the DOT is already looking for cost savings and ways to make project more efficient. “I think part of is going to be looking ahead and determining whether there are better ways we can do those projects in the future,” Walker said. “We want to make sure we are using every dollar wisely.”
Walker said the state may also need to rethink the need for larger scale highway expansions as the way people drive changes. He pointed to the possibility of driverless vehicles hitting the roads in the near future, and that fact that millennials are buying and driving fewer vehicles. “Those are all things that we should factor in to future projections,” he said.
Road funding is expected to be a key sticking point in work on the state budget this spring, due to a shortfall that could top one billion dollars. Assembly Republicans have argued the state should explore new revenues, such as a gas tax increase…while the governor has said he strongly opposes raising taxes or fees.