Gov. Scott Walker announced in late December that the Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb offered his resignation, which took effect Jan. 6. Walker named Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross to take over the position.
Gottlieb’s resignation came just before the start of a budget season in which transportation funding is sure to be one of the most contentious budget issues. Gottlieb had faced tough questioning on the DOT budget from the Assembly Transportation Committee at a hearing in early December.
In his State of the State Address Tuesday, Gov. Walker reiterated his promise to provide a record amount of transportation aid to local governments without raising the gas tax or vehicle registration fees in his upcoming 2017-19 budget. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has criticized Walker’s plan and expressed willingness to keep tax increases on the table as a long-term solution to the state’s $1 billion road fund shortfall.
Gov. Walker is expected to unveil his DOT budget in February. Lawmakers will then review and make changes before voting on a final budget.