Governor Urges Legislature to Release Additional Dollars
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 Committee on Finance. This $350 million in contingent bonding may be used for either major highway development or state highway rehabilitation projects.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently announced the following projects will be delayed at least 2 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.
The Transportation Development Association recently released a study by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater which argued that delaying these projects would hurt area businesses and undermine economic development in the project areas. Governor Walker, in turn, has publicly called on state legislators to release the additional bonding authority approved in the state budget and to allow work on some of these projects to go forward. To date, the Wisconsin legislature has not taken action to do so.