From today’s Wisconsin State Journal:
Betty Manson, town clerk for Plymouth in Juneau County, said her town doesn’t have money to reconstruct its 45 miles of roads, and instead is seal-coating one mile per year. The treatment is recommended every five to seven years, she said.
“We’re getting pretty bad,” she said, calling for more road funding. “We may have to take some of our roads and turn them back to gravel.”
We know that gravel riding is becoming more popular, but do you really want that great, quiet, gently rolling town road that you love to revert to two inches of pebbles? It’s possible that hundreds if not thousands of miles of those roads – so perfect for road cycling – could become for all intents and purposes off limits for all but fat-tire bikes.
That will happen unless Wisconsin gets serious about reinvesting in our local road network. The projected deficit in the transportation budget is approaching a billion dollars over two years.
Governor Scott Walker has proposed a budget that takes one step in the right direction. He would increase local road aids by $77 million. But there’s no assurance that the legislature will go along with his proposal.
At the same time, legislators are talking about doing something to fill the growing gap in the transportation budget that has Wisconsin ranked 49th among states in road conditions.
As cyclists we need to be part of that discussion. So join us on Thursday, April 13th in Madison for the biennial Bike Fed Lobby Day.
We’ll be hitting Capitol offices to ask that legislators fund local road repairs. It’s not just keeping town roads from going to gravel that we want. It’s smoother pavement, fixed potholes, paved shoulders, even joints and gutters – all the details that matter so much for safe and enjoyable cycling.
What’s at stake is nothing less than Wisconsin’s reputation as a premier cycling destination in North America. That is a legacy of the wonderful paved road network that was championed first by cyclists and then by the dairy industry. It’s 120 years of history that is slowly unraveling before our eyes.
Join us on April 13th in Madison to say with one strong voice that we need to reverse the damage. It could be the best and most important day you spend off your bike all year.
You can register here.