Wisconsin Survey On Road Funding, Paramount Records In Grafton, Blue Jean Nation Political Movement

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

A new movement launched in Wisconsin this week targeting voters who feel ignored by the current political system. We talk to the leader of the ‘Blue Jean Nation’ project about his plan to change American politics. We also discuss the results of our Wisconsin Survey on road funding, and explore the history of Grafton’s own Paramount Records.

Featured in this Show

  • Survey: Wisconsin Residents Prefer Increased Fees Over Borrowing To Pay For Roads

    As debate continues over how roads should be funded in Wisconsin, new survey results show Wisconsinites prefer increasing fees over other options.

    In a question asked in the spring 2015 edition of the Wisconsin Survey, 48 percent of respondents expressed support for increasing fees while 33 percent preferred Wisconsin’s current approach of borrowing money.

    This numbers come as state officials deals with how to fix a growing gap in the transportation budget.

    Craig Thompson, executive director of the advocacy group Transportation Development Association, said that he thinks the survey results reflect people’s changing mood on these questions.

    “I think more and more people are coming to the idea that they’d rather pay as they go rather than an overreliance on bonding,” said Thompson.

    In his two-year state budget proposal, Gov. Scott Walker proposed borrowing $1.3 billion to fund transportation projects. He hasn’t proposed any fee increases

    Thompson said this approach raises concerns.

    “If you simply rely on bonding to fund all of the projects and you don’t increase the revenue stream, then you end up getting eaten up by debt service,” Thompson said.

    Based on the governor’s borrowing proposal, Thompson said he thinks the state is “getting close to that.”

    In terms of fees that could be raised, Thompson said two major options could be considered: Upping the vehicle registration fee or the gas tax.

    The cost to register a vehicle in Wisconsin is $75, a number that Thomson said is “quite a bit lower than any of our neighbors.”

    Meanwhile, the gas tax sits at 30.9 cents per gallon, and while raising any taxes has generally been frowned upon in Wisconsin, Thompson said Wisconsin could follow the lead of other states.

    “About 14 states in the last year or two have increased their gas tax, or some version of that,” he said. “Including red states.”

    Whatever ends up happening, the fact remains that many of Wisconsin roads have seen better days, he said.

    “Right now, we’ve got about 21 percent of our roads that are in poor or worse condition, and we’ve got about 12,000 bridges in the state that are considered structurally deficient,” Thompson said.

    The Wisconsin Survey is a random telephone sample of 600 adult Wisconsin residents that asks their opinions on national and state government, economic and policy issues. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

    The survey was conducted by Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the Strategic Research Institute at St. Norbert College.

  • Wisconsin Survey Results: Transportation Funding

    One of the questions on the most recent Wisconsin Survey asked residents about how they’d like to see road construction and repair funded. A guest from the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin talks about the results and how he thinks they should inform the legislature when it comes to transportation funding.

  • Paramount Records

    We talk to an author about the rich musical history behind a chair factory in Grafton, Wisconsin that produced some of the most influential blues music of the time.

  • New Political Movement Launches In Wisconsin, Looks To Unite 'Politically Homeless'

    A new political movement launched this month in Wisconsin, and is looking to take on American politics and appeal to citizens who feel ignored by both major political parties. The founder of ‘Blue Jean Nation’ talks about the movement, and where he sees opportunity for change in the American political system.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Craig Thompson Guest
  • Amanda Petrusich Guest
  • Mike McCabe Guest