How Gov. Scott Walker Broke: Infrastructure in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE — The following is the statement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik with regards to Gov. Scott Walker’s record on infrastructure:

“Walker promised he’d fix the transportation crisis in Wisconsin and then turned away $810 million in federal stimulus grants and paid $50 million in penalties out of the pockets of Wisconsin taxpayers for the “privilege” of doing so. Walker promised Wisconsin that he’d fix our roads and now they’ve deteriorated to second worst in the country. Walker kept promising Wisconsinites a 21st-century economy but allowed 1,232 bridges in our state to be judged structurally deficient by the American Society of Civil Engineers; 27% of our public roads to be judged in poor condition by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and costs to skyrocket on active projects by $3 billion often delayed.

“Let’s be clear – there is no sincere plan for community and economic development in Wisconsin that does not include long-term investment in roads, rail, light rail, buses, ports, airports, high-speed Internet, and reliable cellular connections. So, forget about all the promises Walker’s making and merely think of him when your car drops into a pothole, or when you’re stuck in traffic staring down orange barrels because of construction delays. Think of Walker when you can’t get a direct flight from Wisconsin to, well, anywhere or when you have a slow or no connection to the Internet, and you’re dropping calls while driving throughout the state.

“Here are a couple of simple concepts it’s clear Walker does not understand: If you can’t get there then no one will go there. If you can’t connect to a place, then no one will go there. So, let’s put an end to the mystery of why so many of our amazing small towns in Wisconsin are dying on the vine. It’s because Scott Walker is letting them die by not efficiently connecting them to the rest of Wisconsin and the rest of the world. But, I will connect our state to the 21st century economy by putting in place a 20-year plan that strategically invests in the growth of our state. And, I’ll put people all over our state back to work at good-paying jobs re-building our infrastructure. It’s time for Walker to hit the road so we can get our state growing again.”

A closer look at Gov. Scott Walker’s record on infrastructure:

  • We have the 2nd worst roads in the nation and they’re are costing drivers an average of $637 per year. [1][2]
  • 1,232 bridges are structurally deficient. [3]
  • 27% of public roads in poor condition according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. [4]
  • Only 41 percent of state highways rated in good condition under the Department of Transportation’s rating system — down from 53.5% in 2010. [5]
  • Costs on 16 projects increased by more than $3 billion. [6]

Background:
[1] “Wisconsin ranks #49 in quality roads and #41 for transportation.US News Best State Ranking, WI roads #49, Transportation Development Association, 3/1/17

[2] “While the nation’s infrastructure earned a “D+” in the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, Wisconsin faces infrastructure challenges of its own. For example, driving on roads in need of repair in Wisconsin costs each driver $637 per year, and 8.7% of bridges are rated structurally deficient.”2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 3/9/17

[3] “1,232 bridges (8.7%) are structurally deficient, and Wisconsin spent $289,075,761 on bridge capital projects in 2013.” 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 3/9/17

[4] “115,372 miles of public roads, with 27% in poor condition” 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers, 3/9/17

[5] “The proportion of state highways rated in good condition decreased from 53.5 percent in 2010 to 41.0 percent in 2015 under the department’s rating system, the audit found.” Critical DOT audit finds highway project costs underestimated by $3 billion, Wisconsin State Journal, Mark Sommerhauser and Mark DeFour. 1/27/17

[6] “A new audit finds the state Department of Transportation dramatically underestimated the cost of major highway projects by failing to account for inflation and other factors, with costs on 16 projects ballooning by more than $3 billion since lawmakers approved them.” Critical DOT audit finds highway project costs underestimated by $3 billion, Wisconsin State Journal, Mark Sommerhauser and Matt DeFour, 1/27/17