Cap Times: Citing budget constraints, the Department of Transportation has proposed scaling back the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee, setting back the $1.7 billion project for two years, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The delay would increase the cost of the project by nearly $50 million because of inflation and added maintenance costs, the paper reported.
And the trouble doesn’t stop there:
…could have a domino effect, hampering plans to expand the Milwaukee Medical Center and plans to expand the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Innovation Research Park … It could also mean the closure of the Wisconsin Avenue-Blue Mound Road Interchange for an additional one to two years ... including the reconstruction of Verona Road in Madison and Interstate 39-90 from Beloit to Madison.
“This is a live-within-our-means budget,” Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said of his department’s 2013-15 budget request. “To be clear, this is not something we are happy to be proposing.”
Don't forget, against the warnings and encouragement of the Obama administration to take advantage of the near zero percent interest rates for borrowing, Republicans like Walker are taking the "penny wise, pound foolish" idea to a whole new level. Of course many of these problems, made worse by Scott Walker, were issues he beat up former governor Jim Doyle for. Now it’s okay?
The request could put the Walker administration in an awkward position. During his 2010 campaign for governor, Walker criticized former Gov. Jim Doyle for not doing enough to make the reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange happen, and he later said the state would step up the pace.
Because highway funds are separate from the state’s general fund, and one can’t help pay for the other, we’re in a real tight fix…if you’re a Grover Norquist Republican:
Options to close the budget shortfall — which over the next decade is estimated to range from $4 billion to $15 billion — include increasing the gas tax, charging a new fee based on miles driven, using income and sales taxes, or borrowing. All those measures are likely to see push-back in the Republican-controlled Legislature.