Issue #1: Work Zone Safety
Work Zone Safety continues to be a critical focus of the Local Governments. Workers and drivers are at risk in the work zones. Ensuring that the drivers that encounter work zones and the workers who are performing the work remain safe is critical. There are far too many crashes, injuries, and fatalities in work zones in Wisconsin. Efforts must be directed to improve the safety of work zones for everyone that is in contact with a highway work zone. One of our goals was met this past year with the legislature passing a bill to allow municipalities to implement green strobe lights on vehicles. We are seeing this being implemented across the state with good results.
We support the following to aid in increasing safety in work zones:
1) Allowing work zone flaggers to report violations to law enforcement. School Crossing Guards currently have this ability under Statue 346.465.
2) Adding Work Zone Safety instruction to the Drivers Education Curriculum.
3) Automated Speed Enforcement in Work Zones.
Issue #2: Increases in funding for the local road system
The economy of Barron, Rusk, Sawyer, and Washburn Counties relies on a strong local road system. Over the past several budgets there has been added investment in funding for the local road system. Thank you for the continued effort in working to provide adequate funding to the local road system. The increase to General Transportation Aids, the Local Road Improvement Program and the Local Road Improvement – Supplement (LRIP-S) program all provided the locals with additional funding. While the increased in funding was much appreciated and put to good use, the recent turn in the economy has significantly reduced the purchase power of those dollars. Bid prices increases of 20% and more have been observed and that is anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future. Additionally, there are still many unmet needs across the entire local road system that need to be addressed. Every cycle of applications brings forward a significant backlog of unapproved project requests, demonstrating the need for additional resources to meet the needs.
We support the following to continue to address the funding needs on the local road system:
1) Increases to the General Transportation Aids
2) Increases to the Local Road Improvement Program
3) ½ % Sales Tax dedicated to transportation projects.