From the email:
“Fix Our House First”: A Transportation Funding Anecdote
Transportation funding has become a weighty budget discussion, especially over the past several years. Elected officials have a duty to uphold the state and federal constitution while being good stewards of every dime deposited into the state’s coffers. As such, elected leaders are obligated to root out inefficiencies and function as the singular voice for those we represent. Last session, I had the honor of supporting a number of reform minded bills that would have eliminated or mandated a pause on excessive transportation spending. I supported giving local governments more control over the number of unnecessary roundabouts being built, preventing state taxpayer subsidization of Milwaukee’s streetcar operations, eliminated the costly and burdensome bike path mandate in road construction. I also supported pausing the installation of closed circuit cameras, overhead digital message boards and manually operated railroad crossing arms at interstate on-ramps. Unfortunately, most of these recommendations didn’t even have the opportunity to receive a vote in the “people’s house”. This isn’t the half of it. During my research over the past few months, I have learned that the taxpayer owned Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been having a detrimental effect on our taxpayer funded transportation system. Let me provide an anecdote: A round culvert system under a county highway has been flowing water efficiently for decades. The culvert is deteriorating and must be replaced. The typical replacement in this type of situation is a rectangular concrete box that allows more water flow than in the past. This box culvert is lowered into the waterway, paved over the top, and is extremely cost effective. This solution, though, is no longer good enough for Wisconsin rabbits, squirrels and waterways. There are new terms, bankful width and ecopath, that have come into vogue. These terms are exactly what you would expect. DNR officials are measuring the bank of the waterway on either side of the original culvert and not only requiring a box culvert that extends from bank to bank of the actual waterway, but also including a path for our disenfranchised wildlife to walk through. This absurdity has gone so far as to require county employees to shovel gravel onto the bottom of the concrete box to give the appearance of a more natural river bottom. Benefit to the taxpayers? Zero! Burden to taxpayers? Additional excavation and custom box culvert designs to the tune of thousands to tens of thousands of extra dollars per project. Yes, we have issues with transportation funding in this state, but this example is barely a ripple in the stream. The real solution does not begin with more revenue from your hard earned tax dollars, but with real leadership from your elected representatives and senators.
Rep. Jesse Kremer
Kremer is neither an engineer nor a biologist, so you have to take what he said as his opinion only, and a very simplistic one at that. So as you said, this is only an anecdote, and thank goodness most folks have more sense than to govern by anecdote.
If you want to get into an in-depth discussion on culvert sizing, H&H, aquatic organism passage, construction methods, etc. we can do that, but will need a different forum and a lot more time. There actually is a week-long class (for credit) Kremer could take that goes into detail on the planning and design of culvert structures. That would be management by knowledge using sound engineering and biologic principles rather than anecdote.
What Kremer said is why it is imperative we do bot fund DOT or DNR with anymore resources. Neither of them does any effective-cost/benefiit analysis on even the most torturous project mandates. Empowering the problem agencies is never the solution.
And you are neither an engineer nor a biologist, as your statement “Neither of them does any effective-cost/benefiit analysis”, is an absolute lie. I could show you at least a dozen culvert/bridge replacement project within 30 miles of me right now and 100’s around this part of the state that had extensive B/C review. Like I said previously, there is much more to this issue than Kremer is aware of, so get some knowledge and experience and maybe then we can have a meaningful discussion. But yet again you talk from a perspective of willful ignorance, and seem to be proud of it.
Guess not everyone gets the point of “UNNECESSARY ROUNDABOUTS BEING BUILT, PREVENTING STATE TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZATION OF MILWAUKEE’S STREETCAR OPERATIONS, ELIMINATED THE COSTLY AND BURDENSOME BIKE PATH MANDATE IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION”. Not to mention the multi-billion dollar cost overruns.
I have supported Walker in the past but this one has to sit squarely in his lap. I said Mark was a terrible choice of Secretary a long time ago. Too bad for taxpayers I was correct. Maybe it is time to axe a lot of the bureaucrats but then again, maybe I am the only one that thinks doubling the cost of a project is grounds for dismissal.
What in your mind constitutes an “unnecessary roundabout” ? Compare and contrast a roundabout with a signalized or signed intersection in terms of safety, capacity and traffic flow. Use facts.
In case you didn’t know it, but street car users and bike riders are also tax payers, and are paying for those types of facilities with their tax $$, even more so now with the use of bonding rather than gas tax $$.
How much is one snake worth?
When you answer that question, we can talk about the horrendous amount of money DOT had to waste on box culvert and wetland issues on 4-lane highway expansion of US 45 betwen West Bend and Kewaskum.
How much is one snake worth to the taxpayers?
(hint: it is large number)
Don’t lecture me about your arrogance on cost/benefit analysis after being firsthand witness to this “snake” debate.
Mr nord, I am surprised someone that apparently knows so much does not know the meaning of the word unnecessary. A friend has been trying. For years to pass a law to place all roundabouts on the ballot for the respective local community to approve. I think it is a good idea for the people that have to live with a roundabout to approve it rather than some faceless bureaucrat and politicians decide. Oddly, DOT opposed the law.
How about you stop this silliness and act like a grownup?
Just another anecdote without any background from you.. No surprise there. Provide some facts and maybe we can have a meaningful discussion. Until then this is just another faux outrage just like your sad POTW story.
So you can’t make any argument that a particular roundabout is, in your opinion, unnecessary ? You were given the opportunity to define the word in your own terms and declined. So you really don’t have much to say..
I simply asked how much is one snake worth?
I say less than $1. However Doyle bureaucrats in DOT and DNR thought it was worth six figures, or more.
When bureaucratic cost/benefit starts with insanity circling drain of stupidity….that is the problem.
How much is one snake worth?
You put the price of one life pretty cheap. What formula/data did you use to reach that conclusion? And how much do you think an entire species is worth?
Obviously you know little about the project, if snakes were the issue, or if there was some other design requirement or constraint involved. You don’t even know what species of snake was involved. Your mind is made up, so why should I waste any more time on this. How can someone like you that claims to be so smart be so incurious and fact averse??
And how the heck did roundabouts become a conservative/liberal thing?!
Divide & conquer – working as intended.
Too cowardly to place a monetary limit on a snake?
How can you do a cost/ benefit analysis if you have no cost limit for stupid ?
Obviously you have no limit for stupidity. And obviously you have never done B/C (that is the proper form) or value engineering study. When you want to provide enough data to have a meaningful discussion I’ll participate. But if you just want to be the juvenile in the room and throw a tantrum, I won’t waste my time.
It is that kind of elitism is why transportation project costs are out of control.
I only asked what the dollar value limit on (allegedly) saving a snake is….you can’t even answer the question!
You are part of the problem and why taking more money from taxpayers is not the solution.
It isn’t elitism, but rather a statement of fact regarding knowledge and experience that you lack . You have had plenty of time to provide details as to the alleged project on USH 45 yet have declined to provide anything at all.
Your question is the sort of ridiculous gibberish you continually spout. What is the value limit on an angel, a belief, a vote? You don’t even know the species of snake, so how can anyone, you included place a value on it?.
Exactly how am I part of the problem? Use facts in your response.
>You don’t even know the species of snake, so how can anyone, you included place a value on it?.
So different species of snakes have different monetary value in the wild? Your drive to contradict Kevin’s every statement seems almost OCD to me.
I’m not an engineer or a biologist, so you won’t value anything I write here, but none the less, Mr. Kremer is spot on with what he wrote. You have yet to factually dispute that.
Example: If you took or killed a state or federally endangered snake (or other critter) it would cost you a lot more than one that isn’t, hence the question.
Most of the following from Kremer is either inaccurate, or a very simplistic view of what happens when replacing a culvert. There are a lot of variables that go into determining the proper and most cost effective replacement structure. Example: “This box culvert is lowered into the waterway, paved over the top, and is extremely cost effective”. This method is seldom used and is more expensive than other types, but all that depends on site conditions. Kremer is wrong on the statement.
“A round culvert system under a county highway has been flowing water efficiently for decades. The culvert is deteriorating and must be replaced. The typical replacement in this type of situation is a rectangular concrete box that allows more water flow than in the past. This box culvert is lowered into the waterway, paved over the top, and is extremely cost effective. This solution, though, is no longer good enough for Wisconsin rabbits, squirrels and waterways. There are new terms, bankful width and ecopath, that have come into vogue. These terms are exactly what you would expect. DNR officials are measuring the bank of the waterway on either side of the original culvert and not only requiring a box culvert that extends from bank to bank of the actual waterway, but also including a path for our disenfranchised wildlife to walk through”.
So, still no factual rebuttal?
My factual rebuttal would be that “a snake is worth less than one dollar” isn’t based on anything factual but rather was made up on the spot. Hence, ’tis hard to give a serious response to those comments.
OK, I know you and kevin are fact averse, and in this era of alternative facts you may survive, but it also appears that your reading comprehension is also lacking. To wit: “This method is seldom used and is more expensive than other types, but all that depends on site conditions. Kremer is wrong on the statement”. I’ll add that in my 40 years in the planning, design and permitting of waterway crossings there have been perhaps 5 or 6 pre-cast rectangular box culverts installed (that is what Kremer is talking about) out of the 400-500 I was involved with. They are too expensive, and not readily adaptable to on-site conditions.
I’m sorry if I got too technical, but that is how the ball bounces. And no, I’m not OCD. Rather look at me as a seeker of truth, sifting and winnowing the BS from the facts in todays world.
So yet again, no facts… at least no verifiable facts other than expecting us to take some words as facts from an anonymous online unknown. Some unknown variable who proclaims to have 40 years of experience in the planning, design, and permitting of culverts and yet doesn’t have a name. Sorry, not good enough by far.
Fine, I really have no need to satisfy you, just my clients. And let me know when you, kevin and kremer are going to install that imaginary culvert as I would like to watch.
You are the reason roads are unreasonably expensive.
Can’t even answer how much do we spend for protecting one rogue snake….your non answer means “as much as it takes.”
The rest of us normal people have better priorities than to purposely waste taxpayer money and then whack them more or your insanity.
If you say so, as you are the only real and all-knowing arbiter of truth.
I’ll ask again: What species of snake?
>Fine, I really have no need to satisfy you, just my clients. And let me know when you, kevin and kremer are going to install that imaginary culvert as I would like to watch.
And this is why I suggested OCD as a diagnosis. You’re not trying to satisfy anyone, only anonymously posting on some blog that apparently grates against your beliefs. I guess the diagnosis of “basement dwelling Internet troll” fits just as well. Enjoy.
If you say so it must be true.
Is one kind of snake more valuable?
Why don’t you lay out your willing road spend for each snake species….
That is a stupid request.
>If you say so it must be true.
Awww boo-boo, sorry to have called you out like this. Better luck trolling some where else.
Your unwillingness to set an objective dollar value is the personification of why road projects are so unreasonably expensive. This is just one of the many project planner games to pad their pocketbooks.
Looks like you got a response, unfortunately none are factual, or have any bearing on reality. This is the world we live in……
Pretty poor imagination when you have to steal prose from a despicable liber like me.
I saw a great T-shirt today, “Think: While it is still legal”. Should I order one for you and kev ??
I saw a t-shirt for you as well… CDO is OCD with all the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
I’m just letting you know that if you think your prose is convincing me or others to your way of thinking, you’re deluded. If you want to continue that path, have at it, it’s actually entertaining to watch.
Charles Darwin once noted, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Fits you and kevin to a Tee.
I just asked for your objective dollar value of a snake in a road project?
Why the savage personal attack?
Why don’t you want to educate the “ignorant” about how much you are willing to charge taxpayers in a road project over a snake?
$100,000 per mile add to project? 1 million per mile add? Unlimited per mile add?
Educate all of us “Gumps” protecting taxpayer from you.
What data was used to arrive at the cost of less than one dollar per snake?
He is just making desperate and off topic requests now that we have him figured out. There probably isn’t a real project, as he can’t/won’t identify the location, the stream, or the species of snake (yes, it makes a difference, as pointed out earlier). Or if snakes were even the cause for his distress. He made the same claims a while back regarding a faux POTW project. When asked for details he quickly went on the attack, trying to deflect further scrutiny.
Keep up the good work..
I identified the project. The 4-lane expansion of US 45 between West Bend and Kewaskum that happened during Doyle. One snake was discovered in a ditch on west side of Hwy 45 and that added delay and a ton to the cost.
The snake was not worth $1 from my perspective….but DNR and DOT bureaucrats acted like it was the Pope’s residence they were protecting whenit came to cost.
What is the objective value of a snake in a road project?
You demonstrate why road spending is out of control and we need to get a handle on this attitude.
P.S I’m sure anake is dead by now, but road project remains with its ridiculous, at the time, expense.
So you have, and with that information I talked to both DNR and DOT independently regarding USH 45 West Bend-Kewaskum.
Planning started ~ 1999 (pre-Doyle), design following shortly afterward. Snakes or other threatened or endangered species were not a concern at any point in planning, design or construction. No special provisions were specifically made for snake habitat or passage.
The big conflict was a long stand-off between DOT and the Ice Age Trail folks as to where the trail would cross USH 45 to connect to the state trail on the old RR grade east of 45. Because of Park Service involvement and federal $$, a design was needed (Section 6f is a federal requirement) that got trail users safely under the 4 lane highway. Eventually both parties agreed on a crossing on the north side of the waterway structure crossing under USH 45 near the trail parking lot west of 45. You can see that parking lot and the structure where that E-W trail crossing on Google map air photo.
So, no money spent for snakes. A trail crossing utilizing a structure that was needed for the stream crossing. DNR, DOT and the Park Service agreed on the most efficient and cost effective way to get trail users safely under the highway. Win-win for everybody.
I’m sure you’ll have a rebuttal, but drop the snake issue cuz you’ll be beating a dead horse.
PS: I also asked about Kremers claim about the pre-cast concrete culverts. The response I got was that they are more expensive, have higher maintenance requirements, and are not easily adapted to in-field site conditions.
What’s the value of any animal?
What’s the value of the view at Devil’s Lake?
What’s the value of clean water?
Read my post from 1-31, 10:57 AM. No snake. Either yopu made it all up, or somebody snookered you with gossip. Just like Kremer is making up a strawman argument.