On Wednesday November 21, guest host Liz DiNovella, filling in for Jan Miyasaki, spoke with Steve Hiniker, executive director of , a member agency group of Community Shares of Wisconsin. 1000 Friends of Wisconsin is a state wide membership-based non-profit organization that promotes healthy communities through good land use policies and smart transportation investments.
Steve explains that a huge focus of his group is transportation: they are working towards getting the state money collected from gas taxes and car registrations to be distributed more towards local transit uses, rather than expanding freeways. Steve says that although a small part of the gasoline tax we pay goes towards fixing local roads, the majority of it is allocated towards freeways and major roads. “The cities are getting less and less money each year. So actually, 80% of the cost of the repairs of the streets in Madison doesn’t come from the gas tax, but the property tax.” According to Steve, the driving rate in Wisconsin has not increased in the past 8 years; “we’ve flattened out and actually gone down. People are actually driving less, but we are still spending more money to expand our freeways….The road builders have equipment that only works on big highways, and so they want to use those machines, and they get a lot of money for that.”
Steve also speaks about public transportation. He says that bus rider-ship in Madison is at an all time high, and that the transportation system works very well, “the problem is the state keeps on giving less and less money. So the city is faced with a conundrum: they are facing an increased demand, but are getting less money from the state.”
For more information about 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, visit their website here.
Listen to the full interview here: