The recently-enacted biennial state budget bill reduced the level of bonding from Governor Walker’s recommended $1.3 billion in new bonding to $500 million, and allows for an additional $350 million in general obligation bonds to be issued upon approval by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC). This $350 million in contingent bonding may be used for either major highway development or state highway rehabilitation projects.
The Wisconsin DOT recently announced five major projects will be delayed at least two years due to lack of available funding:
- I-39/90 project from Madison to the Wisconsin-Illinois state line;
- U.S. Highway 10/441 project in the Fox River Valley;
- U.S. Highway 151/Verona Road Interchange project on Madison’s west side, the largest and longest urban road construction in the state;
- Wisconsin Highway 23 project between Fond du Lac and Plymouth; and
- Wisconsin Highway 15 project near New London.
Governor Walker called upon the legislature to provide $125 million to help get these five projects back on track and to provide $75 million in additional funding for the State Highway Improvement Program.
For the money to be released, which was requested by DOT on October 19, JFC would have to approve the request with no JFC member objections. However, in a letter to DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, JFC Chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) announced multiple objections have been raised. Now, JFC must meet and vote on the request. Only a majority vote in favor from the committee will allow DOT the request, and Republican members of the committee are split on approving the request.
While a JFC vote has not been scheduled yet, WisPolitics.com reports JFC Co-Chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) expects JFC meet in early November.