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Republican legislators call for equal road project delays

Budget talks in Madison are at a standstill as the state's powerful budget writing committee hasn't met in almost a month. The delay mainly revolves around how to fund transportation.

Republican leaders want significant cuts to borrowing, but also don't want to see work on the Zoo Interchange project grind to a halt.

Monday, 33 Republican members of the State Assembly said that's not fair. In a letter they explain if borrowing cuts lead to project delays up north, out west, or anywhere outside of southeast Wisconsin, then cuts should also mean a same type of delay to the Zoo Interchange project.

With 33 republican representatives signing on, it shows a majority of Republican Assembly members agree on this issue. One of the key representatives behind the letter, Joint Finance member Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma), told CBS 58, \"To be clear on that, we are not drawing a line in the sand nor are we saying our budget vote hangs on this.\"

The letter was addressed to Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Joint Committee on Finance co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

Monday evening Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for Walker, wrote in an email:

“The total level of bonding in the Governor's original budget proposal is at the lowest level in a decade. It authorizes enough bonding to continue work on Wisconsin's transportation projects, ensuring they are funded and on time.

As legislators discuss reducing bonding for transportation from the state budget, our office has communicated that reduced bonding will negatively impact the transportation fund and transportation projects across the state as a ripple effect. However, while obviously not our preferred option, if legislators choose to reduce bonding for transportation in the budget, Governor Walker would sign it.

As Governor Walker said last week, lawmakers should consider the amount of bonding to include in the budget and leave decisions impacting individual projects across the state to the Department of Transportation in order to ensure decisions are made first and foremost on safety, as well as criteria that considers the economic impact.”

We continue to work with legislators to ensure continued investments in the vital infrastructure the state needs to grow our economy.”

Monday evening, a spokeswoman for Sen. Fitzgerald also responded in an email, “Discussions are ongoing this evening as we continue to work with Assembly leadership to craft a transportation package that will receive support in both houses.”

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