Gov. Walker has announced his budget will include an investment of $6.4 billion in Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure, including $824 million in new state funds. Walker’s plan will prioritize existing revenue streams, replace the raids of the past with state taxpayer funds, and make operational reforms so Wisconsin can continue to maintain and develop existing infrastructure projects. The plan contains no scheduled delays for any major highway projects.
“My budget will invest in Wisconsin’s strong network of roads, bridges, highways, ports, airports, and freight rail,” said Governor Scott Walker. “We are investing for the long term. An efficient, safe transportation system is necessary for growing our economy and creating jobs. ”
Among the projects funded in the Governor’s budget are:
- Zoo Interchange: Allocate $550 million toward the Zoo Interchange Project, which is the busiest interchange in the state. Primary construction will begin in 2015-2018 and will improve safety and reduce congestion. Improving the Zoo Interchange will help grow the economy of the entire state by improving the ability to ship goods quickly in and out of southeastern Wisconsin.
- Hoan Bridge: Utilize $236 million toward the Hoan Bridge and I-794 Freeway. This project will ensure convenient access to the Port of Milwaukee.
- Harbor Assistance Program: Invest $10.7 million for the Harbor Assistance Program, which provides grants to improve commercial harbors on Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers. Harbor Assistance Grants help Wisconsin’s ports upgrade facilities and take advantage of new technology.
- Freight Railroad Preservation Program: $60 million will be dedicated to the Freight Railroad Preservation Program. A lack of freight rail service could result in serious economic harm to businesses that rely on affordable and reliable railroads to ship products.
- Disaster Damage Aids: Dedicate an additional $800,000 to the existing Flood Damage Aids and make it available for non-flood disasters, similar to the wind storm in northwestern Wisconsin on July 1, 2011.
- Routine Maintenance: Increase funding for routine maintenance agreements with counties by $55 million. Maintenance is vital to keeping our transportation system running smoothly and keeping long-term expenses down by keeping current roads in good condition.
- State Patrol: Fill vacant positions within the State Patrol by dedicating $2.7 million to train new recruits.
- Decrease Regulation and Streamline Services: Increase Department of Transportation enforcement of weight and size regulations. Save $5.6 million annually by having additional state engineers for project management and oversight.