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.