Deal reached on Wisconsin highway funds

| Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Gov. Jim Doyle and Republican lawmakers reached a compromise Oct. 20 to limit how much money Wisconsin borrows for highway projects, Green Bay’s WBAY TV reported.

The deal cleared the way for the State Building Commission to unanimously approve borrowing $100 million to begin road work in the next several months.

The governor earlier said the projects were in jeopardy because Assembly Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, threatened to sue over one of Doyle’s vetoes, the news station reported. His veto increased the amount of funds the state could borrow for highway projects to $1 billion for the two-year period that began July 1.

Gard said the veto was unconstitutional because it increased borrowing authority without the Legislature’s permission. He claimed the governor could only reduce borrowing authority.

With a new deal in place, Gard said he would not sue because he thought the agreement improved the method for paying off the debt for highway projects.

The deal includes new legislation that would limit how much the state can borrow for highway projects in the budget to the $565 million Doyle said he intended to use. It is expected to be approved this week.