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DOT requests $200 Million to Reduce Delays in Construction

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation requested $200 million in contingent bonding on October 20 and expects to request the remaining $150 million in contingent bonding next year.

State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) formally requested that the Joint Committee on Finance approve a request by the Department of Transportation to release contingent bonding  to reduce or eliminate the delay of the I-39/90 corridor and other road projects in southern Wisconsin.

“The DOT request for additional bonding for these projects is good news, but we need to work toward a long-term solution to meet our transportation needs,” Senator Ringhand said. “In the long-term, we need to come together to find the funding to keep our roads and highways safe for everyone.”

The legislature approved $350 million in contingent bonding for road repairs in the state budget that was approved in July. According to the DOT request, $125 million of the additional bonding would be used to reduce the delays for five projects in the Major Highway Development Program, including I-39/90, to one year. The remaining $75 million would be targeted for the State Highway Rehabilitation Program.

"We are not asking for $200 million more. We are asking the Joint Finance Committee to free up what was already included in the state budget," said Governor Scott Walker in a tweet. 

Governor Scott Walker held a press conference on Tuesday in Neenah regarding the request by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) for the Joint Finance Committee to release $200 million in general obligation bonding for the Major Highway Development and State Highway Rehabilitation programs.  

“We urge the Joint Finance Committee to approve this request to release the funds included in our most recent budget,” Governor Walker said.  “If the contingent bonding is not approved, the US 10/ WIS 441 project and others throughout the state will be delayed for two years.  Wisconsin’s thriving industries and businesses depend upon a reliable and efficient transportation system for them to conduct their business.  This contingent bonding will reduce delays for major highway projects, which is important for the economic welfare of the state.  More importantly, however, it is vital to ensure the safety of Wisconsin’s motorists.”

The DOT request also states that if the remaining $150 million in contingent bonding is approved for fiscal year 2017, and if future budgets set funding at moderately higher levels, there may be no delays to the project schedules prior to the cuts enacted in the state budget.

 “Secretary Gottlieb brought forth a comprehensive and long-term funding solution for our state highway programs. Unfortunately, his plan was rejected outright by the Governor and legislative Republicans without debate.” Senator Ringhand added. “While this request is a step in the right direction, we need to agree on a long-term solution to this crisis and stop kicking this can down the road.”

State Representative Josh Zepnick said in a statement the “Governor’s repeated calls for more road borrowing, is basically a promise to raise taxes in the future and at even higher levels.  That’s bad public policy and irresponsible budgeting.”

 

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