Marklein Statement on Governor's Transportation Funding Announcement
Madison, WI – Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) made the following statement following Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary-Designee Craig Thompson’s announcement on local road funding:
“I appreciate Secretary-Designee Thompson’s comments and the Governor’s willingness to approve a plan that nearly mirrors the legislature’s budget plan for local roads. In fact, it goes even further toward the original plan introduced by Senate Republicans. We sought to make a strong, immediate, meaningful investment into the maintenance and repair of local roads throughout our communities and the Secretary-Designee’s announcement today appears to echo our plan.
When the Governor issued his vetoes, I was concerned about the cut he made and his veto of our process to distribute the money. He slashed $15 million from the $90 million plan and also vetoed all of the language that created the process for local governments to acquire the funding. I was very concerned that all of the funding was going to be spent on buses, trolleys and urban roads which would not impact the communities I serve.
This is why my colleagues in the Senate and I have been working hard to clarify our intent for these dollars and why we sent Secretary-Designee Thompson a letter to encourage him to follow our original plan.
Today’s announcement returns much of our plan for the remaining $75 million in the state budget after the Governor’s cut. Towns, counties, villages and cities will be eligible for the same percentages of the funding that we approved in the legislature’s version of the budget. The biggest differences are the reduced funding and that transit projects and other non-road transportation projects will also be eligible. However, they will only be funded through the allocation for the specific type of municipality that applies.
Our local towns will not be paying for Milwaukee’s trolley, but if Milwaukee wants to apply for money to expand the trolley for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, they can do so out of their own allocation. We’ll have to watch the city, village and county portions closely to ensure that rural cities, villages and counties do not lose out to their urban counterparts.
While the application process for these funds is still in development, I am hopeful that the communities I serve will be eligible and able to participate in this grant program so that our local roads get fixed. I will continue to work with the DOT and offer my assistance to ensure that the process to distribute these funds is accessible to the people I serve. We need to fix our roads now! This was the entire intent for these dollars all along.”