Senator Janis Ringhand Formally Requests the Release of Highway Funding
Swift Action by Joint Committee on Finance Would Significantly Reduce or Eliminate Delays
(Madison) State Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) has 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. The DOT is requesting $200 million in contingent bonding today and expects to request the remaining $150 million in contingent bonding next year.
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.
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.
Senator Ringhand acknowledged that the professionals at DOT deserve credit for advocating ways to reduce the delays in highway improvements throughout the state.
“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.”
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“Today’s action marks a step in the right direction for the I-90/39 highway project.”