NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) – On Thursday Governor Scott Walker announced the state Department of Transportation’s budget proposal to be included in the state’s biennial budget.
It cuts more than $400,000 from state highway programs.
Governor Walker said keeping the 441/10 project in the Neenah/Menasha area of the Fox Valley is important– but other projects will likely see delays.
Plans to expand Highway 23 from Fond du Lac to Sheboygan is one of those projects that will be put on hold.
Funding for that project was not a part of the Department of Transportation budget for the next two years released Thursday by Governor Scott Walker.
In the race for an open state Senate seat in the 18th District— it’s a cut both candidates disagree with.
“They’ve been delaying this since 1999. In 1999, this would have cost $45 million. We keep putting it off. This year it was going to be $145 million. What’s it going to be when we actually finally get to it?” said Dan Feyen the Republican candidate.
Democrat Mark Harris, who’s running for the same Senate seat, agreed.
He added, “I think they’re doing it because of this incidence we not raise either the gas tax or the registration fees, but really we’re just going to make those things higher in the long run by delay.”
The Highway 23 project has been under discussion for almost two decades, and was most recently put on hold because of a judge’s ruling, over a lawsuit filed by 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin.
The group has been questioning the DOT analysis on future traffic projections.
“Since that ruling there have been several fatalities on that road and the safety is a real issue out there. It’s all because it’s not a four lane highway, and if it had been four lane most of those fatalities likely would not have happened,” said Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel.
If there’s no changes in that budget before it’s officially approved– the Highway 23 expansion project won’t begin until 2020.
That’s if the judicial hold can be resolved.