Focus on highway expansion makes local roads more dangerous, environmental groups say

Environmental groups say unnecessary highway projects are behind a big jump in borrowing in Gov. Scott Walker's transportation budget.

Walker's proposed transportation plan would increase borrowing by $1.3 billion. A coalition of environmental groups, including 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, blamed alleged bad planning by the state Department of Transportation. Steve Hiniker, executive director of 1,000 Friends, said the DOT uses unrealistic traffic projections to justify major highway expansions while smaller local roads are in shambles.

"And so what this means is that local municipalities — town roads and the like are causing more damage to vehicles, crash rates are increasing, and all of this is because of a misplaced priority," Hiniker said.

Read more: Price County Review

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