New Wisconsin law limits borrowing for road projects

| 11/13/2003

Wisconsin will cap its borrowing for highway projects at $565 million over the next two years and change how the funds are repaid under legislation Gov. Jim Doyle signed last month.

The legislation resulted from a deal Doyle reached with Republican lawmakers to avoid delaying some road work in the next two months, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The deal clears the way for the state to borrow $100 million to begin work on a series of road projects.

In the budget he signed this summer, Doyle used his veto authority to ensure the bonds would be repaid with transportation funds, which are made up of revenue from the state’s fuel tax and license fees.

AB602 allows the first two years of interest on the bonds to be paid with transportation funds. After that, they will be paid off with general fund revenue.

The governor also used his veto authority to increase the amount of money the state could borrow for road projects to $1 billion for the two-year period that began July 1, from $100 million, the newspaper reported. Doyle had indicated he planned to use $565 million of the available bonding authority over the next two years for highway projects.

Assembly Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, had threatened to sue, claiming the veto was unconstitutional because it increased borrowing authority without the Legislature's permission. He claimed the governor could only reduce borrowing authority.