Quick Facts: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is planning to repave this road, but that is not scheduled for seven years. Our mayor has proposed that the city do some maintenance, but the DOT will not reimburse the city for it. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse pays the city more than $800,000 a year for municipal maintenance, but that funding is not for replacing a road.
I think we can all agree that La Crosse Street is an embarrassment to the city. There are plenty of calls to replace it, which I think we can also agree to, but it should be paid for by the people who use it most if the DOT schedule isn't soon enough.
We should look to verify how La Crosse Street is used. Big trucks for UW-L construction and out-of-city commuters are likely to be a large part of users.
Regardless of poor DOT budgeting and planning, if this road is to be repaired it should not be the concern of the city alone. The DOT website specifically tasks County Highway Departments with maintenance, citing Wis. Statute 84.07(1). Solid public policy is to make sure that the people who use a public good are also tasked with paying for it. If we are going to repave La Crosse Street ahead of schedule, I believe that we should be looking to the county to maintain this road.
Nick Dutton, La Crosse