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Scott Walker Wants to Eliminate Complete Streets in Wisconsin

There's nothing conservative about what prospective GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker is proposing for transportation in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker, who has been busily campaigning across the country, has a transportation plan that is more stimulus-style spend-thrift than conservative. Photo: Scott Walker via Instagram
Scott Walker, who has been busily campaigning across the country, has a big-spending transportation plan for highways but nothing for complete streets. Photo: Scott Walker via Instagram
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Matt Logan at Network blog Forward Lookout reports that the governor is once again dipping into the general fund to support his seemingly insatiable appetite for highway building. He's also proposing a big round of borrowing. And on top of all that, he's attacking the tiny pool of money that goes to walking and biking -- the most cost-effective form of transportation available. Walker's proposal to cut active transportation programs would save just $7.4 million over 10 years, while expanding total transportation spending by a much larger degree:

Governor Walker’s budget address on February third is getting a lot of press for the $1.3 billion of borrowing for transportation, but there is also a rollback of the complete streets policy formalized in 2010.

It is important to note that current law provides many exceptions to this requirement in the event of disproportionate  cost, physical constraint, lack of need in semi-urban districts, or an unwillingness of a community to maintain the facilities.

Given that the Governor’s budget also calls for more than $200 million in additional transfers from the General Purpose fund to Transportation, the supposed savings of $7.4 million seems insignificant.

This type of penny-wise, pound-foolish approach to transportation budgeting has become standard among the GOP's Tea Party wing. A coalition of Koch brothers-backed groups, many of which also have strong ties to Walker, is pushing the same ideas at the federal level.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Overhead Wire ponders why big picture issues like poor transit and job sprawl don't motivate people as much as individual stories like the Detroit bus rider who has to walk 21 miles a day to work. The Dallas Morning News' Transportation Blog reports that the neighborhood of Oak Cliff is gearing up to welcome streetcars in April. And Transportation for America has the news about a proposal from two House Democrats to increase the gas tax to pay for infrastructure.

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