Boots & Sabers

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1419, 14 Jun 15

Roads We Don’t Need

As the transportation budget continues to be debated, this story is timely.

Their idea: Wisconsin, in this year’s budget, should consider not wasting a bunch of money on highway expansion projects we don’t need.

Take a close look at the traffic projections used by the state Department of Transportation, Hiniker said. They just don’t hold up. The 1000 Friends, an environmental advocacy group, had published a study of the data that found that WisDOT consistently overstated what future traffic would be.

Because the projections were wrong, at least some of the highway expansions that the department was always recommending — and by the way, state highway expansions is a distinct category of government spending, not the same as the money spent on fixing potholes and maintaining our local roads — were unnecessary.

Of course, the study is from a lefty advocacy group. Their study is hardly exhaustive, but does have a lot of good examples of roads that were expanded to accommodate traffic that never came. It confirms the anecdotal experiences that many of us who drive a lot around the state have seen of beautiful, wide, smooth roads with nobody on them.

Again, the “problem” with the transportation budget is a spending problem driven by a powerful road building lobby. It has nothing to do with “adequate” funding.


1419, 14 June 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    4 lane super Hwy 10 from Marshfield to Oshkosh (110 near Oshkosh) is most overbuilt Hwy ever! Its great for driving to minneapolis. From Stevens Point where you get off 39 merge to roudabout that ends 4 lanes near Marshfield, you can drive 20 miles on a 4 lane highway without seeing 1 car! In the middle of the day!

    I’m surprised the lefty group missed that one.

  2. dad29

    151 is largely vacant from Madistan to the Iowa border, too.

  3. Brian

    Lived in Iowa for over five years now. Dad29’s right on 151… no one is on it. Not even cops. I cruise at about 80 mph on it. It’s dead past Madison on the way to FDL, as well.

    The new “interchange” in Oshkosh for 41/45 looks ridiculously out of place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I am glad they widened the bridge.

    I also have family in Jefferson Co. … highway 26 between Janesville and Johnson Creek is totally empty. Another scenic highway, but empty. Cop free there, apparently, too.

  4. Brian

    Oh, highway 69 between Verona and the IL border… dead as well. Took that last fall on the way back from Madison to Iowa, in order to pass thru New Glarus.

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