March 2016 News and Updates 
March 16, 2016
Just Fix It Update
The Just Fix It campaign is up and running and off to a great start.  TDA launched its grassroots action platform and with the enthusiastic support of partners has begun to build a database of advocates.   This has been done with over 23 meetings of chambers, local government entities and others.

Over 550 advocates have sent almost 1,400 communications to their elected state officials with a simple message: Wisconsin needs a long-term, sustainable transportation funding strategy.    

What have you heard?  

If you have joined the Just Fix It campaign and communicated with your elected officials, we are interested in the responses you received.  Please forward them  to the  TDA office .  And thanks!
Haven’t yet engaged? 

Click the image above to see how easy it can be.

If you would like copies of the Just Fix It flyer for your friends, family, coworkers or employees, please email the  TDA office.

Check out the Just Fix It Gallery

On the TDA website and Facebook page, the Just Fix It Gallery serves to highlight the deteriorating condition of transportation infrastructure around the state.

There can't be too many examples. So send in your photos!
0316 coverage
Select Just Fix It coverage

WMSN-TV Madison (video) and WISC-TV Madison (video)
March 8, 2016
Note: Similar stories ran in Eau Claire, Green Bay and La Crosse.

Sun Prairie Star
March 9, 2016

Racine Journal Times
February 25, 2016
February 12, 2016 

Common Sense Prevails
SB 390 delivers a tangible solution

I thought the phrase “common sense isn’t so common” may be a bit tired.  So, I did some online research about who first uttered these pearls.  Apparently, Voltaire is credited with having said this in the 1700s which, in my mind makes it go from being tired to time-tested.  Anyway, in politics especially, common sense can be a rare commodity indeed.

With that being said, a common sense solution to a specific problem did emerge from the State Legislature recently.

As I have written on extensively, Wisconsin’s transportation fund is woefully short of meeting needs of Wisconsin’s transportation system, including our state and local roads.  For many towns and counties this is exacerbated by heavy agriculture equipment traversing these roads which the towns and counties are unable to maintain for even basic vehicular travel – like my Ford Escape.  The result is some pretty bad town and county roads.  And in some cases roads are being weight restricted – forcing farmers to travel greater distances to get on roads that are not weight restricted at a greater cost.  All of this, of course, eats into the bottom line. read more

FAA Authorization Likely Extended Four Months

The House has shut down, at least temporarily, plans to spin off the air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration to a new non-governmental organization. The FAA has been under fire for years for its inability to implement new flight navigation technology efficiently.

Major airlines have generally been supportive of the privatization plan. However organizations that represent the interests of general aviation have expressed concern over the amount of control these airlines would have over the nation’s air traffic control system, new user fees and the potential draw down of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund which supports the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).  

The privatization proposal was included in a six-year House reauthorization proposal which also includes expansion of the State Block Grant Program, annual increases in the total AIP finding levels, the streamlining of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), continued funding for Essential Air Service (EAS) and protections for the Contract Tower Program.

The Senate recently introduced a two-year bill that doesn’t include the controversial proposal to privatize the air traffic control system.  The bill does include an expansion of the State Block Grant Program, federal contract tower protections, an increase in AIP funding levels from $3.35 to $3.75 billion for FY2017 and sustained funding for EAS.

With the current bill set to expire on March 31st, the House passed a bill to extend authorization of FAA programs through July 15th and the ability to collect aviation taxes through March 31, 2017.  The Senate is expected to pass the extension before heading out for Easter break later this week.

The Cost of Congestion

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently release its Travel Time Reliability and Delay Report for the fall of 2015.  The data shows that 9 of 20 Milwaukee area freeway segments are so congested motorists must allow more than twice as much time to consistently complete their trips during peak travel times as they would under uncongested conditions, and two segments are so congested that motorists must allow more than three times as much time.

The cost of these delays is significant. During a one year period, drivers in Wisconsin sit in traffic a total of 12.4 million hours, with a corresponding cost of $387 million.

Not surprisingly, the most unreliable trips occur on the Milwaukee area freeway system. However, Madison’s Beltline is also a problem area for congestion.   read more

Coalition working to connect Chippewa Valley via rail
People haven’t stepped onto a platform from a passenger train in Eau Claire for 52 years.

But a number of people are working to bring passenger rail service back to the region, and with it, a new economic engine for the Chippewa Valley. read more