The state's wish list for transportation funding in a federal stimulus package is receiving some praise, and some criticism.
State officials have asked for nearly $3.7 billion for transportation improvements, as part of a federal economic recovery plan. WISPIRG's Bruce Speight says the plan focuses too much on expanding roads, with nearly 86-percent going towards new highway capacity. Meanwhile, only about 14-percent would go towards repair and maintenance of existing roads and bridges.
With over 1,300 structurally deficient bridges in the state and many roads in need of repair, Speight says those priorities are misguided.
The request from the state DOT does request funding for public transportation projects, such as a Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee rail line and commuter rail in Dane County. Still, Speight says there should be a larger focus on similar projects that would help ease congestion on Wisconsin roadways, lower pollution, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.