Just Fix It Wisconsin

Debby Jackson: It’s about TIME: Transportation investment moves everything 7/25/2019

7/22/19 – Kenosha Daily News

Transportation investment moves everything.

From the buses in Racine to the Port of Green Bay to the rail lines in Superior to the Waukesha County Airport to the roads we use every day, Wisconsin’s transportation network is the key to connecting goods to market and people to jobs.

This direct impact on Wisconsin residents and businesses is why the Transportation Development Association has promoted the vitality and safety of the state’s transportation system — including public transit systems, airports, railroads, commercial ports and roads — for almost 50 years.

And why for the last four years TDA has traveled the state talking with community leaders, highlighting deteriorating system conditions and asking lawmakers to step forward with a plan to Just Fix It.

Thousands of Wisconsinites attended our various presentations, town hall meetings and Rough Road Tours. We listened to each other, and together, we helped explain how the condition of Wisconsin’s transportation system either moves us forward or holds us back.

The new state budget finally acknowledges the growing concerns of citizens and businesses with an increase of $200 million a year in ongoing revenue, the largest increase in decades.

With the increased investment, Wisconsin can:

  • Move up more than 200 vital state highway rehabilitation projects around the state, stabilizing state highway conditions
  • Increase support for local roads and transit services
  • Complete the Zoo Interchange and invest in other important modernization and safety projects, including Highway 23 and I-39/90
  • Reduce bonding to the lowest level in 20 years

This bipartisan agreement was an important first step.

However, while this budget stops the system decline, it doesn’t solve the problem.

Lawmakers have worked together to make progress on many of our most pressing infrastructure needs. Now, it’s TIME to work toward continued progress so that Wisconsin’s economy can reach its full potential.

TDA remains hopeful lawmakers will work together to establish an equitable, sustainable, ongoing revenue stream to meet our future transportation needs. This will be a continuing challenge, with high stakes.

At TDA, we know Transportation Investment Moves Everything. From dairy products and cranberries, to motorcycles and mining equipment … from military vehicles and microbrews to paper goods and manufactured houses, Wisconsin companies produce some of the best, most desired products in the world.

Getting these goods to the marketplace requires sound transportation infrastructure. It’s about TIME we implement a long-term plan that modernizes as well as maintains this vital network.

We also have a thriving tourism industry that depends on visitors being able to move easily and safely to bountiful festivals, lakes, cabins and campgrounds across the state. And whether you drive to work over local roads, state highways and the interstate or take the bus, every sector of our economy is hampered when commute times increase. It’s about TIME we address this.

Our commitment to a healthy economic future demands we address our long-term mobility needs.

It’s about TIME Wisconsin. TIME for the next step, a long-term solution.

This Op Ed is by Debby Jackson, executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, and it appeared in publications around the state.