MADISON (WKOW) -- The state Legislature's budget committee is taking a detour from Governor Scott Walker's road funding plan. The state learned last week it's getting an additional $67 million from the federal government for roads.
The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee voted 10-5 to spend $22 million of that to help finish construction on I-94. The move was opposed by Democrats who wanted that money to be more spread out to help local road projects.
Now, one organization is putting a political twist on it, by naming Wisconsin potholes after Scott Walker. The “Safe Transportation Over Politics” (STOP) is poking fun at what it calls the lack of attention from Walker to help fix poor road conditions, coining the term “Scott-holes,” instead of “potholes.” The group is using billboards and websites to raise awareness to change how transportation money is spent, and it's not alone.
Domino's Pizza is asking customers to send in pictures of poor roads in a new campaign to help fix hundreds of pot holes across America. While those pictures are being sent in, state lawmakers continue to be divided on the issue. Millions of dollars in federal money was approved to finished I-94 which is located near the Foxconn plant being built in southeast Wisconsin.
"Foxconn is getting billions and billions of dollars and yet we won't address our transportation crisis,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “We need to invest some money back to communities that are in desperate need, we have communities that are going to gravel."
Republicans argue millions are needed to compete I-94 to continue to boost the economy.
“This is a road in need of being finished. It’s a major highway for Wisconsin for all of our economic development, tourism industry and our agriculture," said Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the Legislature's budget-writing committee.
Sen. Darling even admitted Illinois roads are much better than Wisconsin’s.
“When I go into Illinois using I-94, I'm amazed at how it has changed. The roads in Illinois are much better than I-94 going in and out of Wisconsin," said Darling.
Governor Walker’s spokesperson Amy Hasenberg said the problem did not begin when he took office.
“Governor Walker has invested $3 billion more for transportation than his predecessor, and he provided the largest increases in 20 years for local roads and bridges in this budget. We will be able to fund an additional 70 bridge projects and complete I-94 N/S years ahead of schedule with this federal funding”