Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In the News: Rep. David Craig and His Pavlovian Reflex to Roundabouts

Hey, guy, it's not nearly as bad as you think it is.

Proposed law would give municipalities final say on roundabouts. (Racine Journal Times, 7/16/2013)

Uh......Dave, where do you think a lot of the money for road projects comes from?    Best you review this page on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website.

The following programs assist local governments with needed improvements to highways and bridges.  
  • Connecting Highway Aids assists municipalities with costs associated with increased traffic and maintenance on roads that connect segments of the State Trunk Highway System. 
  • County Forest Road Aids helps defray county costs for the improvement and maintenance of public roads within county forests. 
  • Emergency Relief assists local governments with replacing or repairing roadways or roadway structure damage on all federal-aid highways (major collectors and above) resulting from a catastrophic failure or natural disaster. 
  • Expressway Policing Aids provides assistance to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department for the costs of patrolling expressways within the county. 
  • Flood Damage Aids assists local governments with improving or replacing roads and roadway structures that have sustained major damage from flooding. 
  • General Transportation Aids (GTA), the second largest program in WisDOT’s budget, returns to local governments roughly 21.8 % of all state-collected transportation revenues (fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees) - helping offset the cost of county and municipal road construction, maintenance, traffic and other transportation-related costs. 
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds highway safety projects at sites that have experienced a high crash history. Emphasis is on low-cost options that can be implemented quickly. 
  • Lift Bridge Aids reimburses the cities of Milwaukee, Racine, Green Bay, Manitowoc and Two Rivers for costs associated with the operation of 10 lift bridges on connecting highways within these communities that provide connections to the State Trunk Highway System. 
  • Local Bridge Improvement Assistance allocates federal and state funds to help local governments rehabilitate and replace the most seriously deficient existing federal-aid-eligible local structures on Wisconsin’s local highway systems. 
  • Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) assists local governments in improving seriously deteriorating county highways, town roads, and city and village streets. The program has three basic components: 
    • County Highway Improvement (CHIP); 
    • Town Road Improvement (TRIP); and 
    • Municipal Street Improvement (MSIP). 
    • Three additional discretionary programs (CHIP-D, TRIP-D and MSIP-D) allow municipalities to apply for additional funds for high-cost road projects. 
  • Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) Web System This tool will replace a local application, available only to WisDOT staff, with a centrally maintained Extranet Web system that can be used by anyone with authorized WAMS ID access and Internet connectivity. 
  • Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) produces a four-year plan of highway and transit projects for the state of Wisconsin. Revised every year, the plan is a compilation of all highway (state or local) and transit (capital or operating) projects in urban and rural areas that propose to use federal funds. 
  • Surface Transportation Program - Freight (STP-Freight) allocates federal funds to complete projects that improve freight connections. 
  • Surface Transportation Program - Rural (STP-R) allocates federal funds to complete a variety of improvements to federal-aid-eligible rural highways (primarily county highways). 
  • Surface Transportation Program - Urban (STP-U) allocates federal funds to complete a variety of improvements to federal-aid-eligible roads, streets and other projects in urban areas.

The University at Albany, State University of New York, shares these facts about roundabouts on its website.

When comparing roundabouts to a signal, studies show that roundabouts provide: 
  • 90% reduction in fatal crashes 
  • 75% reduction in injury crashes 
  • 30 to 40% reduction in pedestrian crashes 
  • 10% reduction in bicycle crashes 

Roundabouts carry about 30-50% more vehicles than similar sized signal intersections during rush hour because traffic is always on the move.  

Operation and maintenance of roundabouts costs less than traffic signals.

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