Wisconsin Potholes Cost Commuters $2,000 a Year

pothole on city street next to line of parked cars with water in it | Wisconsin Potholes

For those Milwaukee commuters who feel as though they are forever stuck in traffic, both morning and night, there is more bad news. Commuters in and around the city of Milwaukee are spending an average of $2,060 every year, due to congestion and traffic accident delays. As if that were not bad enough, the “average” Milwaukee suburban driver spends about 38 hours a year looking at the red brake lights in front of them. And if you are a Milwaukee commuter, you know there is yet another problem—the crumbling roads and bridges, which are costing Wisconsin drivers more than $6 billion annually. In other words, those Wisconsin potholes you feel like you continually hit are both annoying—and hard on your wallet.

Wisconsin’s Economy Outpacing Road and Bridge Upgrades

Unfortunately, road upgrades and improvements have failed to keep up with Wisconsin’s economy. In the Milwaukee area alone, about 56 percent of the major roads are in “mediocre to poor” condition and in the entire state of Wisconsin, that number drops only to 42 percent. If your commute includes crossing a bridge, there is even more bad news for you.  At least 14 percent of the bridges in the state of Wisconsin show significant levels of deterioration, or fail to meet current design standards. Nearly 10 percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are considered “structurally deficient,” and 5 percent are considered “functionally obsolete.” Considering that $264 billion in goods is shipped from Wisconsin each year while another $236 billion is shipped into the state, truck traffic is heavy in Wisconsin.

Gas Tax the Primary Source of Wisconsin’s Road Funds

Like most states, Wisconsin taxes gas as the primary source of road funds. The taxes paid on each gallon of fuel in the state of Wisconsin is 51.3 cents, with 30.9 cents of that being state taxes. Since fuel taxes are dwindling—due largely to hybrid vehicles and those with improved gas mileage—the state gas tax could be increased or Wisconsin could decide on toll roads for the state. Although the average Wisconsin resident with a car pays about $274 in state and local registration fees and gas taxes, they are also paying a little-talked about “hidden” tax, which lie in the costs associated with congested traffic delays.

Further Reading: The ‘Dangerous by Design’ 2016 Report on Pedestrian Accidents

Expanding Wisconsin’s Roads Only Results in Short-Term Gains

Peter Skopec, director of WISPIRG, feels there are only short-term gains from expanding the most congested roads. Skopec says that because those added lanes actually increase the number of drivers on the road, it is only a matter of time until the congestion returns in full force following a road expansion project. Skopec also feels the farther north you travel in the state of Wisconsin, the worse the roads are, since highway expansion has typically been prioritized over highway maintenance. Skopec says the dollars brought in from gasoline taxes and registration fees would be better spent on repairing highways, investing in public transit, and encouraging drivers to use local roads when possible.

This means Wisconsin’s transportation spending has been overwhelmingly spent for highway expansion, ignoring necessary repairs of the state’s highways and bridges. In turn, this means you pay for the lack of repairs and maintenance to the highways and bridges in time and money. As you are probably already aware, hitting a pothole can cause a variety of problems for your vehicle. You could suffer alignment issues, broken rims, and/or flat tires or other issues that could make your car more dangerous to drive. Further, undercarriage leaks, premature wear, and rust spots can result from the jostling your car takes every time you hit a bump or a pothole.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers

Aiken & Scoptur, S.C. Milwaukee Injury Attorneys LogoIf you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, it is important to speak to an experienced Milwaukee car accident lawyer immediately. At Aiken & Scoptur, S.C., our Milwaukee car accident attorneys are dedicated to getting clients the full compensation they deserve. To discuss your case with an experienced trial lawyer, call us at 414-914-2803 or contact us today. We represent clients throughout the state from offices in Wauwatosa and Wild Rose.


Contact us for a free consultation.


19275 W. Capitol Dr., Suite 201
Brookfield, WI 53045
Phone: 414-225-0260
Phone: 262-599-5980
Email Us

Map & Directions