There is a concerted effort underway to address the growing transportation needs in our state and cyclists need to be part of that conversation.
A group called the Transportation Development Association is leading an effort they dub “Just Fix It” to build support for a transportation tax increase (probably an increase in the gas tax) in the next legislative session starting in January.
There’s little question that Wisconsin, like almost all other states, needs to catch up on rebuilding our streets, highways and bridges. And there’s also no question that cracks, potholes and inadequate or non-existent shoulders are bad for people who bike.
However, it’s also fair to say that the impetus for this movement comes from the road building industry. Fair enough, but if all policy makers hear about is the needs of vehicle drivers and truckers we won’t necessarily get improvements that benefit cyclists. And if we’re not at the table as momentum is built and solutions are cobbled together you can bet we’ll be left out of decisions on how the new resources are allocated.
So, here’s a place to start to get our voice heard. The TDA is holding listening sessions around the state. These aren’t typical public hearings. The panels are set up with local officials, businesspeople and farmers. They’re likely to make good points, but they’re also unlikely to talk much about the needs of cyclists.
You can help just by showing up and providing written comments and maybe asking a question of the panelists. And you’ll get breakfast!
All meetings start with a breakfast at 7:30 AM with the meetings running from 8:00 to 10:00 AM. I know. For most of us that’s not a great time, but for anyone who can swing it having you there would be helpful. Here’s the list of meetings:
- May 17, Stoney Creek Hotel, 3060 S. Kinney Coulee Rd., Onalaska.
- May 19, Chippewa Valley Airport, 3800 Starr Ave., Eau Claire.
- May 24, Foth Compay, 2121 Innovation Crt., De Pere.
- May 26, Janesville Conference Center, 3100 Wellington Place, Janesville.
- June 1, Central Wisconsin Airport, 100 CWA Dr., Mosinee.
If you can go, you do need to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call her at (608) 256-7044.
Also, we’d appreciate it you would let us know that you’re going and report back on how it all went. You can email me at email@example.com.