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Highway money debated at La Crosse forum



America’s current interstate highways may have outlived their usefulness.

The director of the Transportation Development Association (TDA) of Wisconsin says new interstate roads need to be built to replace the ones we’ve had since the 1950s.

“They were engineered and built with proper maintenance to last 50 years,” Craig Thompson with TDA said. “That times up. And those interstates need to be rebuilt. And that’s a very expensive endeavor.

“It’s not that they need to be resurfaced again. Those resurfacings occurred. They need to be rebuilt.”

Thompson was speaking Tuesday at the counties association convention in the La Crosse Center. He said Wisconsin has to figure out long-term solution to a shortage of road funding.
His group is hosting similar forums around the state to make transportation funding an important issue in the fall elections.

Wisconsin AAA’s Nick Jarmusz said at the forum doing nothing about highway funding in Wisconsin is not an option.

Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans argue that people shouldn’t vote for Democrats because Democrats are always raising taxes.

Jarmusz, however, says a survey of state AAA members shows a disparity there.

“About 84 percent of our members support doing something to create additional revenue for transportation,” Jarmusz said, adding that the funding option which received the most support in the survey was increasing the state gas tax.

Thompson also referred to Gov. Scott Walker’s appearance at the convention Monday, promising to increase highway funding to counties.

Thompson is frustrated that only the gas tax and vehicle registration fees are used to raise highway money in Wisconsin, and state leaders won’t increase the gas tax.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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