October 2017 News & JFI Update  10/31/2017
Just Fix It Update
Wisconsinites Deserve Better Roads
Excerpt from column written by TDA's Craig Thompson. This piece ran in papers around the state .

The state budget was finally signed into law on Sept. 21. The spirited debate over how to solve Wisconsin’s well-documented transportation funding shortfall held up passage for nearly three months.

After all that time, consensus eluded our state elected officials once again. It took less than 10 days after enactment of the budget, however, for the first transportation casualty to surface.

On Sept. 29, Department of Transportation Secretary David Ross wrote the federal government and asked them to rescind their authorization to rebuild the 3.5 mile stretch of Interstate 94 in front of Miller Park, known as the East West Corridor. This boggles the mind.

Never mind the state and the federal government had considered this project one of the “highest priorities.” Never mind that it is almost 60 years old and needs replacement. Never mind that we have invested large sums of taxpayer dollars to rebuild the Marquette and Zoo interchanges on each end of this corridor, only to walk away from the part in the middle.

Never mind that we have already spent over $20 million in engineering costs to garner federal approval. Never mind the years of inconvenience we all endured to complete the two interchanges. Never mind the companies that move goods through this corridor that have been begging for leadership.

Cancelling the East West Corridor project may be the poster child for this budget’s failure to address our transportation funding problems, but it will be far from the only poor result. Read more
Other Recent Media Coverage   (since last update)
Click here  for a complete listing.

Governing the States and Localities
October 11, 2017

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
October 6, 2017

Wisconsin Radio Network
October 6, 2017

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
October 4, 2017
Why Gas Tax is Best Fix for Our Bad Roads

Excerpt from column by two professors with ties to Wisconsin. William L. Holahan, is  emeritus  professor and former chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of  Wisconsin -Milwaukee. Charles O. Kroncke served as professor and associate dean of business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, dean of the School of Business at UW-Milwaukee and dean of the School of Management at the University of Texas-Dallas, and Auburn University. They are co-authors of “Economics for Voters.” This piece ran in papers around the nation.

In a market with many buyers and sellers, price plays a key role when deciding how much to purchase and how much to sell. When we go to the supermarket, we expect to pay money for the food we purchase. Sellers use this money to cover their costs and deciding how much to try to sell. Meanwhile, for consumers, price serves as an incentive to be efficient when deciding how much to buy.

Competition is especially beneficial to society because competitive prices tend to reflect seller’s cost, including a reasonable return to investors. In non-competitive markets like public utilities (electricity, natural gas, cable television), the price they can charge is regulated to assure that it reflects their cost, again including a reasonable return to investors.

While we regulate utilities to achieve reasonable prices, and although we might not be perfectly happy with that price, we cannot but imagine the prices these monopolies would charge us if they were perfectly free to raise them.

This tradition of requiring users to pay works well in our “free market” system. Why don’t we at least approximate this principle when we pay for roads?

Perhaps it’s because government is so involved with roads at all levels – streets, secondary roads, primary roads, and freeways – that we forget that “pay for what you use” makes such common sense. A market system automatically imposes that rule, but we seem reluctant to impose it to finance roads. Read more
Other News
Support Improvement of Highway 23 Corridor - Take Action Today!

Improving Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Sheboygan has been in the works for decades. To get this project over the finish line, there will need to be strong support throughout the process.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has begun preparing a new Limited Scope Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the project. This document will address the procedural issues raised by a 2015 court decision which stopped the project.

The WisDOT public involvement meeting held on October 12 in Fond du Lac was standing room only. According to news coverage of the meeting, s afety was the main concern of many in attendance.

If you or your business would benefit by improvements to Highway 23, here’s how you can help:
  1. Submit a personal comment of support. Make sure to include how modernizing this corridor would improve your mobility, safety and business opportunities.
  2. Have an organization – local government, social club or church – with which you are affiliated write a letter of support or pass a resolution.
  3. Share this request and project information with friends, colleagues and family members.

Please submit comments by November 12 to WisDOT Planning Project Manager Bryan Lipke at  bryan.lipke@dot.wi.gov . You can also mail comments to his attention at: WisDOT Northeast Region, 944 Vanderperren Way, Green Bay, WI 54304 (prepaid mailer available on website).

Meeting handouts, mailer and related information are available on the  WisDOT website .

Please contact the TDA office if you have any questions or need assistance. 
State and Local Officials are Asked to Complete Survey on Highway Maintenance Workforce Issues

How will the field of Highway Maintenance Engineering evolve in the near future? To better understand current and future workforce issues around Highway Maintenance occupations, the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) is conducting a survey to capture information about:
  • The demand for entry-level Highway Maintenance workers
  • Recruitment and retention issues
  • Training practices
  • Opinions on workforce development topics

MTWC is emailing the survey to Wisconsin county highway commissioners, WisDOT highway maintenance engineers, the people responsible for road maintenance for every city, village, and town with populations of 2,000 or more, and private contractors that perform highway maintenance across the state.

Emails will be sent November 1st. People who prefer to complete the survey by phone or in person, can arrange to do so. 

Survey findings will help MTWC partners advance a career pathway in Highway Maintenance in Wisconsin. To be involved or to learn more about this initiative, visit the website

About MTWC
Based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the MTWC is one of five centers that make up the National Network for the Transportation Workforce (NNTW). Together, these centers contribute to a national strategy for transportation workforce development. The MTWC together with its counterparts in NNTW are focusing on creating pathways in five disciplines as part of the National Career Pathways Initiative funded by the Federal Highway Administration. The five disciplines being covered by this initiative are: Engineering, Safety, Planning, Environment, and Operations. 
Association News
Tom Bressner TDA's 2017-2018 President

Tom Bressner, executive director of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, was elected the Transportation Development Association’s 41st president at the September annual business meeting in Madison. He will serve a one-year term.

In addition to serving TDA, Tom is co-director of the Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic Convention and Trade Show, and serves on the Wisconsin DOT Freight Advisory Council, DNR Invasive Species Council, UW-Discovery Farms Project Steering Committee, Fox Valley Technical College Agriculture Advisory Council, and the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board. Tom is also a past director and member of the Long-Range Planning Committee of the National Grain and Feed Association.

Tom was first elected to the TDA Board in 2013 and joined the organization’s executive committee in 2015.

Other members of the 2017-18 TDA Executive Committee:
  • 1st Vice President: Allison Bussler, Waukesha County
  • 2nd Vice President: Summer Strand, the Walbec Group
  • Secretary: Len Shelton, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139
  • Treasurer: Tim Peterson, James Peterson Sons, Inc.
  • Immediate Past President: Dave Brose, EMCS

Thanks to all for their service.
Fly-in 2018 Update

TDA is excited to be planning its 2018 Fly-in to Washington, DC with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance. The event will likely be toward the end of May. However, the dates will not be selected until the U.S. House and Senate schedules are released in the next month or so.

Keep a lookout! We will share the dates as soon as possible.