-by Ashwat Anandanarayanan, Transportation Policy Analyst
So how is the state paying for these ongoing roadway expansions? Data from Wisconsin’s historical budget trends document shows that bond funding has increased by 83% since 1998.1 Over the last ten years, the state has borrowed over $4.5 billion to pad the transportation fund.2 Debt service has increased by a staggering 307% since 1998.3
The state borrowed nearly $1 billion for the 2013-14 legislative session alone, to pay for highway capacity expansion and rehabilitation projects.4 It is estimated that annual debt repayment will top $1.6 billion by the year 2020.5
With debt service steadily creeping up to be a larger part of the total transportation budget each year – we are burdening future generations with repayment, for large-scale infrastructure projects that data indicates is neither required, nor desired.
It is important to ensure that we are prioritizing our transportation investments correctly – and not potentially bankrupting the fund a few years down the road.