Road Construction Season
Posted: September 30, 2011
I don't have the patience to deal with traffic delays. In fact, I usually avoid driving on roadways that are under repair. But this year I took note of the larger-than-normal amount of construction that was occurring throughout the state and was actually relieved to see all of the people who enjoyed gainful employment through the use of my tax dollars.
Even though the President and other elected officials are reluctant to use the term "stimulus" when trying to come up with a way to avoid another recession, it was evident to me that money spent over the past 18 months to improve Wisconsin's infrastructure was a welcome relief to many who would have otherwise been unemployed.
I often wonder what shape our local economy would be in were it not for the stimulus funding for road and bridge construction.
An estimated $445 million is being spent this fiscal year on new highways or existing roads and bridges that are being improved in Wisconsin. Although there are no concrete figures for the past decade, I would guess that this past season has been near the top of the spending list. And as much as the stiumulus spending has to be paid back at some future date, it is hard to argue with the positive impact that transportation expenditures have on the economy.
I have traveled by car as far north as Cornucopia and as far south as Wilmot,WI, this past year. No matter which route I elected to take to get to my destination, I ran into road construction and detours every time. Unlike past summers, it really didn't bother me to be delayed, knowing that more families would not have such an uncomfortable winter once they began to draw unemployment checks.
It has often been said that Wisconsin has three seasons: Winter, Spring and Road Construction Season. I read an article this week that reminded us that congestion due to road construction is a sign of a robust economy. So just think how bad the region's unemployment rate would be if there were no highway construction season at all.
* Thank you to all who have taken the time to call or e-mail me regarding the possible change in the mailing schedule of The Bottom Line if the postal service elects to close the mail processing facility on Eau Claire's north side. (See my editorial from Sept. 23rd) So far, about half of those responding to my request for input have stated that they don't mind waiting until Monday to read The Bottom Line while the other half are somewhat reluctant to give up their Friday routine. Continued input is appreciated. Call me at: 715-834-7337 or e-mail: email@example.com.