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Governor Evers: Participates in Statewide “Pothole Patrol” Tour and Highlights Budget Investments

MADISON — Governor Tony Evers wrapped up his annual “Pothole Patrol” statewide tour yesterday, which included seven stops in Wisconsin to repair potholes and discuss the governor’s proposed biennial budget investments in local roads and highways. The week-long tour marked the governor’s fourth “Patrol Patrol” circuit since he took office, including in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

“It was great spending the past week with people on the ground visiting neighborhoods and fixing the damn roads, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done over the past four years to repair roads and bridges all over Wisconsin. But as I have seen firsthand this week, our work must continue; there is more we must do to ensure our state has the transportation and infrastructure we need for the 21st century,” Governor Evers said. “With a historic budget surplus, we have a historic opportunity to invest in our communities and their future, and I urge the Legislature to do the right thing and join me in passing a historic budget proposal because safe and reliable infrastructure is critical to our economy. , the workforce, and the general well-being of our state for years to come.”

On Thursday, May 25, Governor Evers began his tour in Platteville, where he filled potholes on Sowden St. between Jefferson St. and N. Water St. He was joined by Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson, Secretary of State Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City), WisDOT Southwest Region Chief of Operations John Steiner, and city officials. Photos of the event are available here and here.

On Friday, May 26, Governor Evers continued his statewide tour in Kenosha, where he patched potholes on 26th Ave. between 85th St. and 87th Pl. He was joined by WisDOT Secretary Thompson, Mayor John Antaramian, State Representative Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha), city officials and leaders of the Department of Public Works. Photos of the event are available here and here. Additionally, on Friday, Governor Evers also patched potholes at Grace Ct. in Appleton. He was joined by WisDOT Secretary Thompson, Mayor Jake Woodford, State Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton), State Sen. André Jacque (R-DePere), leaders from the Department of Public Works and other local officials. Photos of the event are available here and here.

On Tuesday, May 30, Governor Evers continued to patch potholes on N. 51st St. between W. Brown Deer Rd. and W. Green Brook Dr. in Brown Deer. He was joined by WisDOT Secretary Thompson, Village of Brown Deer Board President Wanda Montgomery, State Representative Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay), local leaders and regional WisDOT staff. Photos of the event are available here and here. Also, on Tuesday, Governor Evers went to Rhinelander, where he filled in the potholes with WisDOT Secretary Thompson, leaders from the Department of Public Works, WisDOT regional staff, Rhinelander Fire Chief Brian Tonnancour, and others. local officials. Photos of the event are available here and here.

On Wednesday, May 31, Governor Evers continued his statewide tour in Chippewa Falls, where he patched potholes on S. Michaud St. between E. Melby St. and S. Prairie View Rd. He was joined by WisDOT Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Nilsestuen, city officials and regional WisDOT staff. Photos of the event are available here and here. Finally, to conclude his “Pothole Patrol” tour, Governor Evers repaired potholes at the intersection of Lake St. and 8th Ave. N. in Onalaska and held a press conference to promote work zone safety and habits safe driving during the busy summer construction. months. He was joined by WisDOT Deputy Assistant Secretary Nilsestuen, Mayor Kim Smith, State Sen. Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska), leaders from the Department of Public Works and city officials. Photos of the event are available here and here.

After improving more than 5,800 miles of highway and nearly 1,600 bridges during the Governor’s first term, Governor Evers’ 2023-25 ​​budget initiatives include providing the highest level of funding to date for general transportation aid, which they go directly to helping counties and local communities repair and maintain local roads.

The governor’s comprehensive transportation budget proposal also prepares the state for its future by proposing two new funding sources for the state’s transportation fund and using federal funds to further develop Wisconsin’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which allows the state to use $34.5 million in federal funds during the biennium, along with possible state funds, to enable greater use of electric vehicles throughout the state.

Unfortunately, earlier this month, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to remove more than 540 provisions from Governor Evers’ budget, including several of the Governor’s proposals to upgrade Wisconsin’s infrastructure. Republicans in the JFC voted to kill the governor’s proposals to:

  • Using nearly $380 million of the state’s nearly $7 billion historic surplus to pay off state debt in transportation overhaul bonds to save taxpayer dollars on future debt and interest and focus resources on improving and maintaining highways;
  • Restore the ability of cities, towns, and localities to use eminent domain to build pedestrian and bicycle paths;
  • Allow local governments to establish Regional Transit Authorities throughout the state as they deem necessary for the benefit of their residents;
  • Support employer-sponsored transportation options for workers; and
  • Keep highways safe by establishing a new traffic calming grant program, implementing Driver’s Licenses for All, restoring highway design considerations known as “Complete Streets,” and requiring first-time offenders to Install an ignition interlock device for all violations involving operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. , and increase the penalty for Wisconsin’s seat belt violation.

Below is a breakdown of the Governor’s proposals still under consideration by the JFC to build a safe and reliable infrastructure to support a 21st century economy and workforce.

Roads and Local Services

Governor Evers proposes:

  • Increase general transportation grants for counties and municipalities by four percent in calendar year 2024 and another four percent in calendar year 2025, providing the highest level of funding for general transportation grants in the program’s history;
  • Provide $50 million in earmarked funding annually for an ongoing supplement to the Local Roadway Improvement Program (LRIP) to increase direct support of local roadway and bridge projects statewide. Additionally, increase funding for the existing LRIP program by four percent in each year of the biennium;
  • Increase state support for public transportation aid by four percent in calendar year 2024 and calendar year 2025 to further support non-driver access to employment, health care, and recreation statewide. Also, increase funding for programs that support transportation for seniors and people with disabilities and paratransit;
  • Provide $1.2 million of earmarked funds annually to provide matching funds for the Small Communities Transportation Alternatives Program; and
  • Allocate $8 million of segregated funds to support local government administration of federal funding opportunities to support local highways, including technical assistance opportunities.

Bridges and Highways

Governor Evers proposes:

  • Provide $47.2 million in bonds to begin reconstruction of the Blatnik Bridge in Superior in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation;
  • Provide $50 million in bonds to support the Fox River South Bridge project in Brown County;
  • Direct $1.2 million in set aside funds for urgent repairs for the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge in Green Bay; and
  • Invest $77 million based on the State Highway Rehabilitation Program.

safe road

Governor Evers proposes:

  • Improve travel safety on Wisconsin highways by providing 35.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions for additional state troopers and 10.0 FTE positions for motor carrier inspectors;
  • Provide $16,000 to develop and implement electric vehicle license plate decals to assist first responders in electric vehicle emergency response; and
  • Invest $6.5 million to cover the cost of comprehensive driver education for economically disadvantaged students.

electric vehicle infrastructure

Governor Evers proposes:

  • Establish a program to use federal funds to further develop Wisconsin’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This action will allow the state to use $17.1 million of federal funds in fiscal year 2023-24 and $17.4 million of federal funds in fiscal year 2024-25, along with potential state funds, to allow for increased vehicle use. electricity throughout the state.

Investments in the supply chain

Governor Evers proposes:

  • Provide $16 million in bonds for dredging, seawall reconstruction, and other projects associated with the Port Assistance Program; and
  • Provide $20 million in bonds for the Freight Railroad Preservation program.

Lay the foundation for future infrastructure
The Governor is proposing to provide two new revenue streams to fund infrastructure improvements throughout Wisconsin and maintain a healthy transportation fund, including:

  • An amount calculated from the state sales tax generated by the sale of electric vehicles; and
  • A transfer of a portion of the state sales tax on the sale of auto parts, tires, and repair services.

These transfers will allocate nearly $190 million from the general fund to the transportation fund during the biennium.

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