MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s budget proposal contains additional funding for local roads and bridges, but no tax or fee increases.
The governor demanded the DOT provide him a 2017-19 budget that funded projects but did not require residents to pay extra in taxes to cover road and bridge work.
“This budget provides more funding to local governments for their roads and bridges, keeps borrowing at historically low levels, and maintains our no tax or fee increase pledge,” Governor Walker said. “Good roads and bridges are important to Wisconsin and our economy, and this budget proves you don’t have to raise taxes or fees to maintain a safe and strong transportation network.”
DOT proposal headlines:
- Local governments will receive a $65 million increase in aid, “the largest year-to-year change in local aids since 1999-2000”
- $1.7 billion in funding for the State Highway Rehabilitation Program, the “largest level of funding from the program in history”
- $605 million in funding for county and statewide road maintenance and safety improvements, a $69.7 million increase over the previous budget
- $560 million in funding for “major projects”
- $500 million in bonding for the DOT, which is a 41 percent reduction in borrowing from the previous budget
DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb released this statement:
Today, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is submitting its 2017-2019 biennial budget request. Our department has worked to carefully prioritize our transportation system’s most pressing needs. This budget request provides substantial funding increases for pavement preservation, safety improvements and local aids. All of this can be accomplished without any fee or fuel tax increase and with limited borrowing. In fact, this request calls for the lowest level of transportation bonding since the 2001-03 budget.”
At a news conference Thursday, Governor Walker said keeping the 441/10 project on schedule was important.
“We know not only for Menasha and Neenah but for the Fox Valley, this entire corridor, it’s an incredibly important project for commerce, for transportation, and most importantly, for safety,” Walker said.
City leaders said they’re happy to see that two roads which drive their communities are a priority.
“They’re kind of the life blood of the community and Menasha has been kind of cut off for the last year, year and a half,” Mayor of the City of Menasha, Don Merkes, said.
Governor Walker said he will not raise the gas tax or increase the vehicle fee. He said no new major projects will be beginning, which will pay for increases to local communities’ budgets.