GOP plan would tap surplus to fund local road projects

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MADISON (WKOW) — Ten Republican state senators want to use $133.6 million from the budget surplus to fund local road construction projects.

The plan would distribute $1 million to all 72 counties through the Wisconsin’s Department of Transporation (DOT).

The proposal was introduced at a press conference Wednesday morning, but there’s no word yet if Assembly Republicans support the plan or if the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will consider it.

Assembly Republicans continue to support finding a long-term solution to address the state’s transportation needs. Speaker Vos agrees with the Senate Majority leader  that the local roads proposal should be considered outside the transportation budget and is interested in exploring the idea.

On Thursday, JFC plans to vote on a spending plan for transportation for the next state budget. Last week Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said his caucus would not support raising the gas tax. A funding source Gov. Tony Evers introduced to raise the gas tax 8 cents a gallon.

Fitzgerald said in a statement he would consider his colleague’s proposal to use the budget surplus to fund roads.

A member on the Joint Finance Committee, Sen. Tom Tiffany said he was “hopeful” the proposal introduced Wednesday will be part negotiations tomorrow.

Republican Senators who support this proposal include; Sen. Howard Marklein, Sen. David LeMahieu, Sen. Tom Tiffany, Sen. Jerry Petrowski, Sen. Dan Feyen, Sen. Luther Olsen, Sen. Alberta Darling, Sen. Duey Strebel, Sen. Van Wanggaard and Sen. Kathleen Bernier.

“This is a laudable idea that I currently consider as a proposal outside the state transportation budget to utilize one time money as a result of the strong fiscal numbers we saw reported in May,” Fitzgerald said. “Once again, it demonstrates how strong the economy is in Wisconsin.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos agrees with Fitzgerald that this proposal should be considered outside the transportation budget and is open to exploring the idea to use the surplus.

“Assembly Republicans continue to support finding a long-term solution to address the state’s transportation needs,” said Kit Beyer, communications director for Rep. Robin Vos said in a statement.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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