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Mass Transit More Valued Than State Budget Shows: Report

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Several groups last week held a conference call to report on a recent survey that says Wisconsin's proposed transportation budget is out of step with state residents preferences.

The Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group's Director Peter Skopec says the statewide survey asked what respondents wanted out of the transportation budget now being debated in Madison...

".....the overwhelming response is the way we've been spending our transportation dollars don't match the way people would like their transportation dollars spent. A lot of people want to see more investment in local priorities so that means fixing local roads, investing in local public transit ,biking and walking infrastructure and less money spent on major highways and major highway expansion in particular...."

Skopec says over the last two decades the state has expanded its highway infrastructure at the expense of other forms of transportation. He says the local roads are in bad shape and transit programs are underfunded. He says the lack of access to mass transit is hurting older residents.

A disability rights advocate in Wausau, Kathi Zoern says mass transit is her lifeline to living...

"....transit is vital to my life. It's my car keys to independence, just like the driving public uses the car for independence. I can only go to activities, job opportunities when the bus runs. It's a quality of life issue....."

Skopec questions adding to the infrastructure because there appears to be a generational change taking place. Millenials are less automobile oriented and want to live in places with effective mass transit. Governor Walker and the legislature are in a tough battle over funding a transportation budget that is showing a deep deficit.

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