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Monday, April 05, 2010

Will Interstate Expansion Have a Psychological Impact On Taxpayers?

As you may have heard, Rep. Brett Davis (R) has issued a boondoggle warning against the high-speed” train that would run from Madison to Milwaukee. His main beef is state taxpayers will have to subsidize the train's operating costs to the tune of about $7-10 million per year. Clearly he says, the people of the state can’t afford this project.

In Rock County however, the local Republican establishment and media along with their respective organized business and construction lobbyist groups are pushing for an expansion of the I39/90 corridor from 4 lanes to 6 lanes between the Illinois stateline and Madison. This luxury is expected to cost state taxpayers at least $1 billion, which by the way would cover over 100 years of operating costs for the M2M high speed rail. So, where is the outrage from Davis on the interstate expansion spending?

To take it a step further, where is the outrage from the so-called watchdog and fiscally conservative-leaning Janesville Gazette? Particularly with the heavy lobbyist action engulfing once again a certain local state legislator to apply his "leadership" position to influence and fast-track the legislative process. This time for a project that will cost taxpayers a billion dollars.
JS Online Excerpt:
Projects are supposed to be approved by the Transportation Projects Commission before going to the Legislature, but lawmakers can bypass that process. Legislators end their regular session April 22, and the transportation commission has not announced any plans to convene....The I-39 project is viewed as key by two industry groups - the Transportation Development Association and the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association.
And a third group, Forward Janesville. Forward Janesville is thee politically active local business lobbyist group with over 500 area members and embedded transients in Rock County's Bilderberg Group known around these parts as the Rock County 5.0, among them local construction heavyweight J.P.Cullen and Sons. Their tentacles of influence on local legislators, particularly Assembly leader Mike Sheridan, should not be underestimated. Local legislators can be blackmailed and have been smeared as anti-business tax and spenders when they don't jump to the whims of these tax shifting corporatists.

Another Wisconsin blog picked up on the legislative hi-jinks involved to swipe the taxpayer's credit card with the interstate expansion's billion dollar tab.
Political Environment Excerpt:
So why not go for it now? We're probably getting closer to another round of vehicle registration and licensing fee increases, and toll roads, to pay for the highway budgets that legislative leaders covet.
That's one reasonable way to look at it. Create the project first to justify the hike in taxes later. Probably the worst part here is that these road projects are spun as job creators by the republican establishment and their media enablers while the tax hike projects to pay for them are viewed as democrat creations. Who do you think wins at the ballot box with those arguments?

As can be expected, the most recent Janesville Gazette article regarding the billion dollar expansion of I39/90 through Janesville was basically a lobbyist lovefest touting the road project as an absolute gravy train for jobs, economic growth and safety improvements.
The slimming of the Interstate at the Wisconsin/Illinois border has a "psychological impact" on supply chain industries looking to relocate to the area, John Beckord said at a meeting...
That's the best local business interests can do after the reality of losing GM? Turn to government and tax and spend a billion dollars on a psychological enhancement. Just when I thought I've heard it all.

It will be interesting to see how the Janesville Gazette eventually responds to the entrenched local lobbyist's swarming pressure on Sheridan. If they do at all. Remember, this is the newspaper that was the primary source for a twisted story accusing Sheridan of capitulating to lobbyist pressure and using (abusing) his speakership position to influence the course of legislation through the state capital for the benefit of the payday loan industry.

I would suppose, everything's changed now.

Quote To Remember About Forward Janesville:
Make no mistake, Forward Janesville’s overriding goal is to advance the interests of its members.

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