Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

0722, 15 Feb 18

#justfixit in Washington County

This is certainly better than the message we’re getting from state lawmakers.

[West Bend, Wisc…] Washington County thinks it can fund all its highway improvements over the next 32 years without an increase in the gas tax or raising other taxes and fees. The plan is simple: make transportation infrastructure a top priority in its budget.

That is the cornerstone of the county’s 2050 Transportation Network Sustainability Plan, which officials are promoting through the #JustFixIt campaign.

Rather than just complain about the amount of  federal or state government funding for local roads, the county is proactively moving forward “to achieve a financially sustainable transportation network for Washington County.”

“Washington County is leading the way to #JustFixIt by putting forth a plan which would 100% fund the maintenance, resurfacing and reconstruction of all county highways for the next three decades,” said County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. “I believe this plan will serve as a model across the State, further demonstrating how setting priorities can result in solutions to maximize the use of every taxpayer dollar we receive and meeting the expectations for essential government services.”


Washington County wouldn’t be the only county to figure out how to fund road repairs without a tax hike. Marquette County has managed to maintain the best roads in the state through prioritization just within its highway budget. That’s resulted in 99 percent of Marquette’s county highways being in fair or better condition. Incredibly, the county receives almost the smallest amount in state aid of any Wisconsin county.


0722, 15 February 2018


  1. MjM

    Hat tip,  yeah but…..

    There’s a whole lot more to it than simple cost/mile.

    Marquette County Highway Dept takes care of 352 miles of State and County  roads.

    Eau Claire (worst roads in the state, according to MacIiver) CHD has 571 miles of State/county roads.

    Washington CHD takes care of 1092 miles of State and County  roads.

    Marquette County has a population of just 15,000.

    Eau Claire County has 102,000 people.

    Washington County has 134,000  people.

    What does this tell you?  That per road mile use is a heck of a lot higher in Eau Claire than in Marquette or Washington.   It’s not just about routine maintenance. It’s about constant damage from use. (It’s also about what your existing roads are constructed of;  PIA concrete v easy-fix asphalt).

    MacIver’s article states that roads can last 40 years with proper maintenance.

    Well, sure, if nobody is driving on them.

    One fascinating side note:  Marquette County has 30 full time CHD employees to cover 351 miles of roads.  Washington CHD has 51 to cover 1092 miles.  Now what does THAT tell you?




  2. Le Roi du Nord

    Lots of assumptions made in the report, like cost of material, equipment, etc.  If you can see into the future maybe you can make these claims.  Smart folks don’t and won’t.

    And many counties don’t have the .5% sales tax, or if they do it isn’t dedicated to highway work.  Again, they are counting the chicks before they hatch.  Pretty poor budgeting policy.

    MjM:  Good points all around.


Pin It on Pinterest