Gov. Walker on transportation budget: "Get it done"

Published: May. 25, 2017 at 10:03 AM CDT
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Gov. Scott Walker has three words for state lawmakers: "Get it done."

The governor called on the legislature to get the transportation budget completed during a stop in Neenah.

The transportation budget faces a nearly $1 billion shortfall.

“Delaying, or worse yet, returning to 2015 funding levels on the transportation budget jeopardizes the investments our budget would make in safety and maintenance,” Governor Walker said. “I proposed a transportation budget months ago that provides significant funding increases for local governments to maintain our roads, keeps borrowing down at historically low levels, and invests in major projects to keep them on schedule. Our budget proposal proves you don’t have to raise taxes or fees to have a safe and strong transportation network.”

Walker made his statement at the site of the 10/441 project, which is one of the projects the governor says would face delays if the legislature does not include transportation funding in the budget.

Some Republican leaders in the Legislature have called for passing a transportation budget separate from the state's two-year spending plan. Gov. Walker is opposed to that.

Republican Rep. Dale Kooyenga proposed a plan that would hike taxes on gasoline to fund road projects. The proposal would also give the state the ability to install toll roads. However, that would need federal approval.

The governor has also opposed a gas tax or vehicle registration fee as a way to raise money for transportation projects.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) released a statement in response to the governor's calls to "rubber stamp" the transportation budget.

“Assembly Republicans are not standing in the way of the state transportation budget. We have said that we are open for negotiations and we are willing to explore options. However, we can’t build our roads on the backs of future taxpayers. We need a long-term solution," Steineke says.

His statement goes on to say:

"Too many times we have heard that we can wait until the next budget to make the tough calls. In previous budgets, we admittedly reached compromises on borrowing with the promise that we’d address this elephant in the room ‘next time.’ That ‘next time’ is today. Ignoring the problem and putting a Band-Aid on it just won’t work.

As we have made abundantly clear, we are not willing to continue to borrow without a system in place to fund our current and future projects.

I think the public is smart enough to realize it’s time to `just fix it,’ and they’re fed up with politicians unwilling to take real action. Assembly Republicans are the ones who are pushing the process along, offering up ideas, and providing the leadership to get it done.

That’s why today I’m renewing my call on the Governor and the State Senate to come forward with a true, conservative plan that fixes our roads and pays for it without borrowing at the peril of our children.”