Newsmakers, October 23, 2014

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Heard On Newsmakers

96th Wisconsin Assembly District Forum

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  • 96th Wisconsin Assembly District Forum Part 1

    The candidates in Wisconsin’s 96th Assembly District race agree stabilizing the way Wisconsin funds transportation will be a major issue in the next legislative session, but they fail to offer specifics for a solution, both saying “everything should be on the table.”

    Incumbent Lee Nerison (R-Westby) and challenger Peter Flesch (D-Soldiers Grove) faced each other in a forum at UW-La Crosse October 21, and both support a statewide referendum before Wisconsin voters on November 4 that would prohibit state lawmakers and Wisconsin’s governor from using money in the fund that largely comes from the state’s tax on gasoline and vehicle registration fees to be used for other purposes.

    Wisconsin lawmakers and then Gov. Jim Doyle used $1.3 billion from the transportation fund to help pay for schools and other state programs.

    Challenger Peter Flesch says toll roads need to be considered to raise additional revenue, but a decision to use toll roads wouldn’t help the state in the short-term. He says the Department of Transportation also needs to determine if all of the planned road construction projects are needed.

    “Do you want to maintain what you’ve got? Do you want to build more? Do you want to raise more revenue?” said Flesch. “In my view, there is no one magic bullet, it’s going to be a combination of things, and the legislature has to decide what that combination looks like.”

    Rep. Lee Nerison says the idea of toll roads helping the state is at least six years away and revenue from gas taxes has been declining as vehicles become more fuel efficient. He didn’t offer his own idea of how to bring in more revenue.

    “I look at it that everything is on the table to try and figure out where we have a good revenue source for the roads,” he said. “In Viroqua and Westby, the new bypass, they looked at the numbers and they decided they didn’t really need the bypass after they put the four-lane (Hwy.14/61) in. That’s going to save a lot of money. Hopefully we can use that money for another project in southwestern Wisconsin, but at least we won’t be using it there for now.”

    The candidates also talk about their views on funding rural schools and the state’s projected budget deficit in this part of the forum.

  • 96th Wisconsin Assembly District Forum Part 2

    State Rep. Lee Nerison (R-Westby) and challenger Peter Flesch (D-Soldiers Grove) participated in an hour-long forum at UW-La Crosse on October 21, 2014. The person with the most votes in the November 4 election will represent Vernon and Crawford Counties and part of Monroe County for the next two years.

    In part two, the candidates talk about how they’ve shown compromise, and their views on the state not accepting federal money for the Medicaid program, agricultural issues and frac sand mining.

Episode Credits

  • Maureen McCollum Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Lee Nerison Guest
  • Peter Flesch Guest

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