The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is having a tough time justifying new highway projects when highway use is down. So now they have a new tactic – denial. They simply deny that traffic is down – and they have issued a “fact sheet” to promote their view.
The Wisconsin State Journal in a news article this week states that the state will be short $15.3 billion over the next decade” largely because more fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids and electric cars, are eroding state revenues from the gas tax, the largest source of state transportation funding.” These statements have been repeated by DOT officials, media publications and transportation professionals – blaming more efficient cars and electric vehicles for the precipitous fall in state transportation revenues. While this is no-doubt true, this is definitely not the main reason why fuel tax revenues are dropping.
May is Bike to Work Month! At 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, we believe more people riding bicycles both cause and result from stronger, healthier communities. While undeniably good exercise and lighter on the environment, bicycling as an integral and practical piece of the transportation system is also light on the pocketbook. In fact, promoting biking to work can pay immediate dividends, both financial and otherwise, for Wisconsin’s employers.
Nearly 32,000 Americans die each year from traffic accidents. This is the equivalent of a fully loaded jumbo jet crashing each week. Highway engineers go through the morbid exercise of trying to estimate the number of inevitable deaths on any section of roadway they design. Putting this in context – wouldn’t it be ludicrous if an architect estimated that a certain number of people would inevitably die annually as a direct result of using a building she designs?
Wisdot’s Purpose and Need Document for the I 43 N-S corridor projects an increase of traffic on freeway segments (2010-2040) that varies between 32% and 39% based on population projections and an average annual traffic growth rate of 0.93%.