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Road builders blindsided by Walker, question the governor’s claims



A seemingly offhand comment by Gov. Scott Walker continues to cause waves in Wisconsin.

Critics say Walker isn’t being truthful with his suggestion that transportation patterns are changing in the state, so big highway expansions aren’t needed.

Transportation Development Association executive director Craig Thompson also questioned Walker’s claims that road building projects are driven by politics.

“It’s engineers that recommend and make these decisions, generally based on a lot of data, not politicians,” Thompson said.

Thompson was also a bit surprised to hear Walker stake out a position that the state needs to fix the roads it has, rather than build new ones

“None of the past policies have really given us an indication that that’s where they were heading,” Thompson said. “The most unrealistic part is we haven’t been fixing what we have. That should be an emphasis clearly. But we haven’t been doing that.

“We’ve got, by every metric, some of the worst roads in the country, and we just cut the funding that maintains the roads that we already have.”

Thompson’s group has been at the head of the effort to secure a long-term funding solution to provide for more road funding in the state.

Walker’s former transportation secretary, Mark Gottlieb, has gone on the record saying Walker isn’t accurate saying the state doesn’t need expanded highways, as well.

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