Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
When Tommy Thompson was governor, he used to joke that one of his Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretaries, Chuck Thompson (no relation) wanted to pave everything.
Back then, the notion was possible, with revenues pouring into the state coffers from everywhere.
Not so today. The state transportation fund, designed to appropriate funding for road projects, is in deficit. Why? Blame Governor Jim Doyle.
Three times Doyle raided the transportation fund to divert cash somewhere else, usually to keep campaign promises to the state teacher’s union. Doyle raided the fund to the tune of $1.257 billion. The use of replacement bonds offset the transfers by $865.5 million, but the debt service paid from the transportation fund during the 2003-05 biennium ($43.9 million) adds to the loss. When you add it all up, the total Doyle raided was $435.4 million. (Source: The Legislative Fiscal Bureau).
That’s $435.4 million less that the state has for road repairs, putting future projects in limbo. That would include the
Concrete pieces from a bridge falling down? To me that sounds serious. Here’s how we deal with the situation. It sounds like something out of a cartoon. The Daily Reporter reports the DOT will put netting in place to catch the falling debris, and this is routine maintenance.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik sees the deterioration as political opportunism. Jursik has campaigned for some time to redo the bridge. In typical liberal fashion, she even supported a sales tax hike to finance the repairs, even though a big chunk of her district was opposed (Can we say, out of touch?). That idea failed even in the Democrat-controlled Legislature this session.
So, how do you pay for the needed repairs beyond the ridiculous idea of netting? The Daily Reporter reports, “Jursik said, given the inability to get state money to rebuild the Hoan, she may join the movement calling for a state constitutional amendment that would segregate the Wisconsin transportation budget.”
That would take several years and might go nowhere if the legislative landscape changes post-November.
The fact is that thanks to Doyle’s raids resulting in a massive transportation fund. The state is left to a laughable band-aid (literally) approach to the falling concrete from the