ICYMI: Former DOT Sec. Dave Ross Shares Concerns About Michels’ Transportation Policies

July 25, 2022

ICYMI: Former DOT Sec. Dave Ross Shares Concerns About Michels’ Transportation Policies

Ross: Concerns Michels ‘would be the fox guarding the hen house’

 

[Waukesha, Wis.] — In case you missed it, former Walker/Kleefisch administration Transportation Secretary Dave Ross wrote a column for the Wisconsin State Journal on why he can count on Rebecca Kleefisch to look out for taxpayers as governor.

 

In the piece, Ross makes a clear contrast to Tim Michels, whose company was part of a coalition that proposed a single-bid for the I-39 project, which was nearly $30 million over estimate. Michels’ coalition didn’t get the contract under the Walker/Kleefisch administration; they did under the Evers administration. 

 

Michels has defended the state department of transportation and said there was no waste in an interview as a candidate.

 

Read the full column here or find excerpts below:

 

Rebecca Kleefisch will protect taxpayers

Secretary Dave Ross

Wisconsin State Journal

 

My tenure began as the debate over transportation funding was at a fever pitch. The special interests were in a frenzy trying to raise taxes on Wisconsin residents. I stood with Gov. Walker and his pledge not to raise taxes. If it was not for the Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch administration, imagine where we would be today. We would have even higher gas prices.

 

 

One glaring real-world example came at the end of my tenure as secretary. A single bid came in for part of the Interstate 39/90 project between Illinois and Madison. It was $27 million over estimate.

 

This upset me. I refused to sign the contract. This bid was approved by my successor, the former lobbyist for the road builders, and signed by Gov. Tony Evers just months after I left. Road builders win, taxpayers lose.

 

The winning single bid is on the client list of Tim Michels, who is running to be governor. In an interview announcing his run for governor, Michels refused to say there was waste in road construction. He also defended this process where road builders work together to submit just one bid, eliminating competition on projects. This gives me pause.

 

Michels’ company also has funded groups that advocate for higher gas taxes. The groups he is a part of and funded stand firmly against taxpayers. They support taking more of our hard-earned money when prices are sky high.

 

The state spends billions on road projects each year. Michels and his company have made millions on state road projects and have ties to more than a $1 billion in state contracts. It should go without saying that the conflicts of interest here are enormous.

 

Our ultimate check on these practices is the governor. Governors and their appointees approve these contracts. With Michels’ background and defense of this bidding practice, I have concerns he would be the fox guarding the hen house.

 

 

I know Kleefisch can be trusted. I know she will work to continue reforming our bid processes and squeeze out the waste and inefficiency at the DOT. She stood strong with Gov. Walker, and she will stand strong again.

 

I wholeheartedly support Kleefisch for governor. The swamp does not control her, and Wisconsinites won’t need to wonder who she will be looking out for. It will be the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

 

Read the column here.

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