News Release: Bipartisan vote a first step to protect transportation fundMay 18, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011
Craig Thompson, Transportation Development Association (TDA) Executive Director
(608) 256-7044; Craig.Thompson@tdawisconsin.org
The Wisconsin Senate and Assembly found an area of common ground today by passing Senate Joint Resolution 23 (SJR 23). The measure is the first consideration of a proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of transportation revenues for non-transportation purposes. SJR 23 passed 26-6 in the Senate and 82-11 in the Assembly.
“I want to commend the Senators and Representatives from both parties who reached across the aisle to pass this very important bill,” said Transportation Development Association Executive Director, Craig Thompson.
TDA aligned with groups across the state this past year to form Finding Forward, a broad-based coalition of more than 40 organizations promoting public support of the constitutional amendment. Finding Forward worked with counties in Wisconsin to place an advisory referendum on the fall ballot asking voters: “Should the Wisconsin Constitution be amended to prohibit any further transfers or lapses from the segregated transportation fund?” Fifty-four of Wisconsin's 72 counties placed this question on the ballot and an additional ten counties passed resolutions in support of the constitutional amendment. While these referenda were not binding, the public sent a clear message. Voters supported amending the constitution in every county in which the question appeared. The statewide average “yes” vote was 70 percent.
“Last fall, the people of Wisconsin spoke loudly and clearly. They want their transportation user fees to be spent for transportation purposes. Today's vote demonstrates their elected representatives were listening,” said Thompson.
SJR 23 must pass again in the next legislative session before the proposed constitutional language is put before the public in a state-wide binding referendum.
“We are now one step closer to improving the integrity of our transportation fund and our general fund,” continued Thompson. “With confidence restored in the process, Wisconsin can once again ‘find forward'.”