Leadership sought for 21st century transportation solutions

Monday, July 21, 2008

From a media release from WISPIRG:

Madison, WI - With average gas prices consistently above $4/gallon across Wisconsin, WISPIRG is calling on Governor Doyle to move Wisconsin toward a new transportation future. WISPIRG’s 21st Century Transportation Solutions campaign is calling on the Governor to increase investment in public transportation and to prioritize maintaining our existing highways over building more.

“With high gas prices, we need clean, efficient alternatives to the rising cost of driving,” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG Advocate. “Imagine taking the train to work, or to Chicago or Minneapolis, and not having to spend $50-$100 every week to fill up the gas tank. Local leaders across Wisconsin are advocating for enhanced bus and rail systems, but they need a commitment from state and federal leaders to get these projects off the drawing board and on track. . . .”

WISPIRG is calling on Governor Doyle to support a state transportation policy that:
• Expands clean, efficient transportation choices for Wisconsinites by prioritizing investment of new capital funds for light rail, commuter rail, rapid bus transit, high-speed intercity rail and transportation options that build dynamic and accessible communities, where more Wisconsinites walk, bike, or take transit to get where they need to go;

• Fixes our crumbling roads and bridges by investing more state highway money in maintenance, not massive highway projects. It’s time for the state government to embrace an approach to highway spending that prioritizes maintaining and modernizing
our existing highways over building more;

• Spends taxpayers’ money more wisely by focusing transportation dollars on solving our state’s biggest problems. For decades, the government has spent billions of dollars on highway projects with inadequate evaluation and accountability. State transportation money should be spent on projects that produce real results over the long haul—by reducing our dependence on oil, curbing global warming pollution, reducing traffic, improving safety, and promoting healthy, sustainable communities;

• Encourages regional transportation planning by enabling and granting authority to regional transportation authorities in communities that want them. Regional transportation authorities can help meet changing transportation needs, and work locally to ensure that people connect to jobs, shopping, and the cultural and tourist attractions that help our communities to thrive.