Walker, Evers spar over transportation funding

Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

Dem guv candidate Tony Evers says he’s looking to have his transportation plan ready to share on Inauguration Day.

Evers, speaking at a Milwaukee Press Club luncheon yesterday, continued to say he’s planning to bring a group of bipartisan stakeholders together after the election to come up with road funding solutions.

Last week he told reporters he will “meet and work with legislators after I’m inaugurated, and maybe even before that, after the election,” but didn’t mention when those plans might be disclosed.

Meanwhile, Evers yesterday again said that “everything is on the table” when looking at the issue.

“We have to look at everything, but all I know is there is a huge impetus to do this,” he said after asked by an audience member what his road plan is and how he’d fund it.

And during opening remarks he knocked Walker, without naming him, over the guv’s “schizophrenic” road policies.

“We’ve been borrowing ourselves to death, and the direct impact is we have municipalities including some in this area that are going to wheel taxes,” Evers said.

During a Q&A with the crowd, Evers also called Walker’s Act 10 a “mistake,” but didn’t address whether he would seek its repeal if elected. Evers said one of the biggest impacts of the law was the feeling by those affected they were “being made the enemy by the leader of the state of Wisconsin.” Evers said he would take a more positive approach to public employees.

“That’s free,” Evers said. “We need a governor who will speak in positive terms of the people who work for the state, work for our school districts.”

Walker continued to take shots at Evers on the gas tax and defended his suggestion the state superintendent could seek an increase of $1.

Evers has insisted that suggestion is inaccurate. But Walker continued yesterday to point at Evers’ comments the day after winning the Dem primary that everything was on the table.

“Any Madison bureaucrat that is telling you wait and trust me until after the election, I wouldn’t trust that,” Walker said during a news conference to announce some work on the I-39/90 project would be completed ahead of schedule. “I would be very worried about holding tight to my purse or my wallet, because that means there’s going to be a massive tax increase.”

Walker said that he wouldn’t raise the gas tax unless there was a corresponding or greater decrease in the overall state tax burden.

Walker took the swipe at Evers after he was asked about former Transportation Mark Gottlieb saying the guv was “fear-mongering” by suggesting his Dem rival would raise the gas tax by as much as $1.

Walker also dismissed some reports that have graded Wisconsin’s roads as poor, saying they’re largely backed by groups that are seeking more money for roads.

“If the media’s now using reports that are paid for by groups as the base, as their foundation, maybe I should go out and create a group and pay for my own study,” Walker said.

Walker was near Milton yesterday to announce work on I-39/90 between Janesville and Edgerton will be completed one year ahead of schedule in 2020. That, he said, will help accelerate other work on the expansion of the interstate to six lanes from four, with a completion date in fall 2021.

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