Capitol Update

Helpful Wisconsin Links

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Roundabouts in Wisconsin
Roads and transportation infrastructure are important investments in our communities. This year alone, the State Department of Transportation will spend over $3 billion on transportation needs. Taking a closer look at transportation in Wisconsin is essential. One trend that emerges when looking at transportation spending and priorities is a familiar story to many of us: a significant increase in the number of roundabouts in our communities.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) there were just seven roundabouts on State Trunk Highways in 2005. Ten years later, there are 223 in our state. Nationwide there are 22 states, including Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana that are now incorporating roundabouts. Roundabout use is increasing dramatically nationwide.

I recently introduced a bill aimed at giving our local communities more say in whether roundabouts should be constructed. Senate Bill 242 makes it a requirement for the Department of Transportation to receive approval from municipalities when a roundabout is proposed. I believe our local elected officials understand traffic patterns, including pedestrian and business patterns, in their communities better than bureaucrats in Madison. If the DOT were required to obtain local approval for roundabouts, it is my hope this may enhance the communications between DOT and local officials. With the Department of Transportation increasing use of roundabouts, the goal is to ensure communities have a decision in the process and to ensure that these roundabouts benefit our areas.

Currently, the Department of Transportation indicates that installation costs are similar between roundabouts and signal intersections. The Department estimates it costs anywhere from $750,000 to $1.5 million to install roundabouts or signalized intersections. I also asked the Department to provide figures on what it costs to maintain both of these intersections. A single lane roundabout costs roughly $7,500 to maintain over a year while a four signal intersection costs roughly $13,100 annually.

Estimated Annualized Cost of Roundabouts and Signalized Intersections

Intersection Infrastructure Type Estimated Annualized Cost
Single Lane Roundabout $7,500
Multilane Roundabout $13,500
Four Signal Intersection $13,100
Eight Signal Intersection $24,500

*Source: WI Department of Transportation


While roundabouts may save the state money long term on maintenance costs, they can be disruptive to local traffic flow and patterns, especially when truck and semi traffic is considered. With an increasing amount of roundabouts, I feel it is important to ensure communities have a voice in whether or not they are beneficial and appropriate.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

Senator Marklein’s 2015 Fall Legislative Survey
If you haven’t already, please take my 2015 Fall Legislative Survey. Below you will find a link to a 10 question survey seeking your thoughts on a number of relevant legislative issues and concepts that we will be discussing in the coming months.

This survey is available online at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein or please feel free to print out a copy from the link below and return it to me at PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53703 or via fax at 608-282-3557. Please submit your survey by October 30, 2015.

For a PDF version of the survey, click here.

2015-16 Blue Books
The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you receive a blue book.


In the District


Vernon Area Rehabilitation Center (VARC)
Last week, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Vernon Area Rehabilitation Center at their Sauk Division in Reedsburg. VARC, Inc. specializes in customized contract assembly and packing. VARC, Inc. has grown from a small, nine person operation into four divisions with 500+ workers throughout Western Wisconsin. The organizational purpose of VARC, Inc. is to administer a comprehensive and cooperative program for the general wellbeing and advancement of persons with varying abilities.

I had a great tour of the facility and was able to learn more about what they do on a daily basis.


*Patrick Griffin, General Manager, Senator Howard Marklein, and Elizabeth Filter, Executive Vice President

Labor Day Parades!

We had lots of sunshine and warm temperatures for the Kendall, Benton and Gratiot Labor Day parades last weekend. It was great to see a number of people at each of the parades!


*Senator Howard Marklein at the Gratiot Labor Day Parade


Listening Sessions on Monday, September 14
On Monday, I will be having 3 listening sessions in Reedsburg, Plain and Spring Green with Representative Ed Brooks and Representative Todd Novak. I would love the opportunity to speak with you about your questions and concerns. Below is the information on Monday’s listening sessions.

Monday, September 14, 2015

9-10 a.m.                            Reedsburg – Reedsburg Public Library, 370 Vine Street, Reedsburg

11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.      Plain – Green TTEC Building, 1110 Leed Parkway, Plain

1:30-2:30 p.m.                   Spring Green – Spring Green Library, 230 E. Monroe Street, Spring Green

Rep. Brooks will be attending the Reedsburg listening session and Rep. Novak will be participating in Plain and Spring Green.

In addition to the listening sessions on Monday September 14, I will also be holding listening sessions on Monday, September 21, in Richland Center, Lone Rock and Boscobel.

Monday, September 21, 2015

10:30-11:30 a.m.                Richland Center – Brewer Library, 325 N. Central Avenue, Richland Center

1:30-2:30 p.m.                    Lone Rock – Community Hall, 220 Pearl Street, Lone Rock

3:30-4:30 p.m.                    Boscobel – Boscobel Public Library, 1033 Wisconsin Ave., Boscobel

Rep. Novak will be attending the Lone Rock listening session.

For a complete list of all of my upcoming listening sessions, please visit my website.


Helpful Information


WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
Earlier this week, the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) released information about possible Salmonella contamination on cucumbers. See the full release below.

DATCP advices Wisconsinites to avoid consuming some cucumbers due to possible Salmonella contamination

Date: September 9, 2015

Media Contacts: Raechelle Cline, 608-224-5005 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – Wisconsin food safety officials are working with state and federal partners to investigate a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections that appear to be linked to eating garden variety cucumbers grown outside of the United States. More than 340 cases have been identified in 30 states including 70 hospitalizations and two deaths. To date, only two cases of the infection have been found in Wisconsin, but the product has been widely distributed.

Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, CA initiated a voluntary recall of all cucumbers sold under the Limited Edition label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Other cucumber suppliers are currently under investigation. No cucumbers grown in Wisconsin or the U.S. have been implicated in this outbreak.

Salmonella Poona can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, pregnant women, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms after consuming cucumbers should consult a physician as soon as possible.

The products were distributed nationwide to retail stores, restaurants and institutions. These cucumbers are often sold in bulk displays without any packaging and may not be easily identifiable. Washing the cucumbers may not effectively minimize the risk of infection. Andrew & Williamson is concerned that infected cucumbers may be in consumer homes. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or throw them away.

Consumers with questions may visit the A&W website at andrew-williamson.com.

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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703