A new law in Wisconsin provides a boost in spending for certain highway projects through an unexpected surplus in the state transportation fund.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported early this year that the transportation fund would wrap up the budget cycle with an $84.6 million surplus.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law to take advantage of the extra money and increase spending by $43 million this year on 11 projects around the state. The allocation leaves the fund with a $41.6 million surplus at the end of two years.
“This additional investment will move projects forward and maintain one of the strongest pillars necessary for a growing economy,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a news release.
Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, said the funds are necessary to address road damages resulting from the winter season.
“We’re just starting to see the damage that is impacting all the roads in Wisconsin,” Richards previously testified. “You don’t have to be an expert to know that our roads are in rough shape and they need to be repaired.”
Previously AB704, the new law increases road spending by pushing up the starting dates of road and bridge projects before the current fiscal year ends June 30. The switch gives the state more ability to take on additional projects in the next fiscal year.
Projects expected to benefit include maintenance, resurfacing, pavement replacement and bridge rehabilitation in Brown, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Langlade, Lincoln, Monroe, Outagamie, Sauk, Taylor and Walworth counties.
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