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Wisconsin highway ranking declines

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Thirty states have better highway systems than Wisconsin. That’s according to an annual report by the Reason Foundation of California. The think tank analyzed national figures from 2009 – things like road-and-bridge conditions, congestion, death rates, and spending for improvements.

Wisconsin’s ranking is 10 places lower than two years before, when the state had the 21st best highway network. The study said Wisconsin increased its road spending, but it has not paid off – not yet, anyway. The quality of urban interstates is the ninth worst in the country, and rural interstates are the 11th worst. Wisconsin also got low marks for congestion, but the state has the nation’s seventh-best bridges. The state also has fewer traffic deaths than normal.

Rob Henken of Milwaukee’s Public Policy Forum says the 60-year-old Interstate system is past its shelf life – and there are not enough revenue sources to make the proper repairs. Environmental group leader Steve Hiniker of the One-Thousand Friends of Wisconsin says fewer Americans will drive in the future – and more attention needs to be paid to local community streets. He says there’s been a “total neglect” of local roads in recent years.