Friday, February 27, 2009From the comments submitted by Madison Peak Oil Group on Connections 2030, the long-range planning document of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
Transportation infrastructure and services in Wisconsin affect both the economy and quality of life in the state. Prospective policies for different transportation modes deserve thoughtful consideration of current realities as well as probable futures.
WisDOT deserves credit for its efforts to make the report comprehensive, integrated, and mindful of the many goals for transport programs. However, Madison Peak Oil Group believes that a number of issues and evaluations do not receive the attention that they warrant, given long-term trends in oil supply and our current economic reality.
Madison Peak Oil is concerned that the report does not really confront:
1. The economic realities since mid-2008 which threaten current state transportation programs, much less new efforts;
2. The combined long-term implications of higher state program costs and declining transportation revenues for the prospective scope and number of DOT programs; i.e., it will be harder than ever to be all things to all people over this planning horizon;
3. The combined implications of lower incomes, aging populations, environmental goals, and higher costs for oil-based personal vehicle operation on the prospective demand for transit and beyond-auto transport over this planning horizon;
4. The fact that some freight transport systems (e.g., rail and water) are more energy efficient and cost-effective than others (e.g., air and long-distance trucking) and are more likely to grow in importance and cost-effectiveness over the planning horizon. . . .
Facing tight budgets, rising costs, increasing environmental and resource problems, this report needs to go beyond a feel-good vision of 2030. While the Wisconsin Department of Transportation alone does not make the decisions that lie ahead, it would be useful if WisDOT would provide more information about the tradeoffs ahead and the tools and approaches which have been developed or used by other governments and nonprofits for making choices. This would enhance greatly the usefulness of the document in the coming decision process. In this fast-changing and challenged future, the document prepared in draft is being over-taken by harsh realities and many difficult choices are ahead. WisDOT needs to do a better job of preparing its audience for that process.