Wisconsin governor expected to slash I-94 funding

| 7/25/2005

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said he will veto nearly all of the money Republican lawmakers set aside in the state budget to begin preliminary work on part of Interstate 94 near Milwaukee.

Republicans and local officials have been pushing state transportation officials to begin work on I-94 in western Milwaukee County, one of the busiest stretches of highway in the state.

The project includes the crossroads of Interstates 94 and 894, and U.S. 45, known as the Zoo Interchange.

Instead of that project, Doyle first wants to rebuild I-94 from Mitchell International Airport in southern Milwaukee County to the Illinois border.

Doyle, a Democrat, informed lawmakers last week he would veto all but $3 million of the $38 million Republicans designated for preliminary work on the Zoo Interchange, The Associated Press reported. He said the money would be better put to use on education than for studies on a project that won’t begin for at least another decade.

The governor has one of the most powerful veto authorities in the country. He can strike out words and numbers to rewrite entire sections of legislation lawmakers send him.

State Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, and other Republicans are calling for a change of heart from Doyle.

“The administration indicated that it would support our efforts to fund the preliminary engineering work for the reconstruction on the Zoo Interchange if we secured the necessary funding. The Legislature did its part and it is time for Gov. Doyle to honor the commitment made by his administration,” Stone said in a written statement.

Doyle told local media that was a mischaracterization of his stance and the $3 million would still allow some work to go forward.