Walker says state should focus on road maintenance over expansion

WisDOT photo.

Gov. Scott Walker suggested the state should focus on maintaining the road infrastructure it has rather than expanding lanes and interchanges.

Speaking to the Milwaukee Rotary Club and Milwaukee Press Club Tuesday, Walker called for a re-examination of Wisconsin’s transportation goals and questioned if current traffic projections are reliable. He notes his sons — both millennials — are more likely to take Uber or Lyft than drive their own cars.

Walker said he will lay out his transportation plan later this month, but believes the state can meet its needs without a “massive gas tax increase.”

The guv didn’t offer specifics.

“There are some groups out there that want to spend billions and billions and billions of dollars on more, bigger, wider interchanges across the state,” Walker said. “I actually think we should do it fixing and maintaining our infrastructure. I don’t know that we need bigger and better and broader right now when we have a changing transportation system.”

Just two weeks ago, Walker directed the Department of Transportation to study the expansion of I-41 to six lanes from the current four between Appleton and De Pere in the Fox Valley.

Walker also continued to challenge Dem rival Tony Evers on his transportation plan.

“I said, ‘So what is it? Is it a buck a gallon?’ And he said, ‘Everything’s on the table,'” Walker said. “A couple hours later, his campaign manager said ‘Well, no, no, no, they’re lying about that.’ I said, Then tell me what it is.'”

Evers spokesman Britt Cudaback said Walker’s approach has “let our roads crumble,” adding a comprehensive approach was needed that “doesn’t penalize growing communities.” But he didn’t offer specifics.

“As governor, Tony will make fixing our transportation crisis one of his top priorities, and he will work with both Democrats and Republicans alike to implement a sustainable, long-term fix for how we fund our roads,” Cudaback said. “Scott Walker has drawn a line in the sand–and that approach has failed.”

Watch the speech; Walker’s comments on transportation come at the end of the Q&A:
http://www.wiseye.org/Video-Archive/Event-Detail/evhdid/12660

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