Just Fix It Wisconsin

Officials say roads ranked 4th worst in nation due to funding 3/8/2016

3/8/2016, WMSN-TV Madison (video) and WISC-TV Madison (video) – Chances are the streets you drive on every day could be some of the worst in the nation.

A new study ranks Wisconsin as having the fourth poorest roadways in the country. City engineers and Wisconsin roadway experts agree the problem is due to funding.

In Wisconsin, no matter where the road takes you, at some point you’ll likely end up at a pothole.

Madison’s Streets Department does patching and other minor repairs to help, but city engineer Rob Phillips said those Band-Aids aren’t enough.

“We’ve got some projects that really need to be done,” Phillips said.

Phillips said the city has about 25 road projects that need to be done.

“Our biggest project is on the Capital Square. Over the next two years we are doing the Capital Square,” Phillips said.

Unfortunately other projects will have to wait as the city cuts the roads budget back by about $10 million, down to $25 million this year.

“There are some very significant building projects that need to be constructed here in the city and our roads will have to wait,” Phillips said.

Currently, 25 percent of Madison’s pavement conditions are labeled poor or fair. But it’s better off than other parts of the state when you consider a nationwide study done by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“According to their criteria, 71 percent of our roads are either in poor or mediocre condition,” said Craig Thompson, the executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation and Development Association said. “There were only three states that were worse than us.”

Thompson said unlike other states, Wisconsin has not increased gas taxes or registration fees recently.

“You’ve got about a decade plus of money being stagnant or going down, and at the same time we have to rebuild a 50-year-old interstate system, so something’s got to give. So what’s got to give is the local roads and the interstate system really,” he said.

Thompson said unless fees or federal funds are up, the problem of deteriorating roads will continue in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials said they see some discrepancies in the ranking and are currently investigating it to make sure it’s accurate.