City Urges State to Improve Transportation Funding
By Jacob Mathias
After years of reduced state funding for road construction, the Wisconsin Rapids Common Council, in conjunction with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, unanimously approved a resolution calling for state support in transportation funding.
In a memo to the council, Vruwink outlined the need for support of the resolution.
“The current and future condition of our infrastructure, absent new revenues, threatens our economy- as lack of funds delay much needed projects and also threatens the state of our already declining and compromised roads and bridges. With the next biennium state budget already passed, the state must adopt a responsible level of bonding, user fees and other revenue sources to adequately fund Wisconsin’s transportation system to prevent further road deterioration and take a step in the right direction for improving our local road conditions.”
According to Vruwink, limits on amounts the city can levy from the citizens make it difficult for the city to fund road improvements and that responsible and sustainable bonding and an increase in vehicle user fees are needed to achieve this goal.
“Since we’ve chosen as a state, they’ve chosen not to do an iPass situation where you have a toll road at this time…something does need to be done,” said 7th District Alderman James Stack.
The resolution says that about 90 percent of Wisconsin roads are under the purview of local governments for improvement and repair. Also, according to a study by the Local Government Institute of Wisconsin, the condition of the state’s highways are in the bottom third of the country.
Delays in road improvements may effect the local economy as well.
“Any time that a company is looking in an area they’re going to be looking at transportation, especially certain types of businesses obviously that are using on the road type of facilities,” said Director of Planning and Economic Development Adam Tegen. “It is a concern and that’s why we support that type of resolution to make sure that we’re staying on top of it.”
The resolution will be forwarded on to the state legislators and Governor Scott Walker.