, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, December 04, 2015
Two Wisconsin state lawmakers are looking to chart a new course for local transportation projects.
Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Bob Brooks, Republicans from Saukville, are behind an effort to “swap” a portion of federal funds within local transportation programs for existing state transportation dollars.
Brooks said the change would remove burdensome, expensive and inefficient federal regulations from local highway projects. As a result, certain projects would have less federal money attached while other projects would have less local and state money assigned.
He referred to a 2013 report from the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission, which asserted that local units of governments could save 25 percent on local projects by replacing federal funds with state dollars.
Critics say the state would be better served to come up with a long-term transportation funding plan rather than focusing on one source of tax money.
Brooks said that while the state’s transportation needs increase and the Republican-led Legislature and GOP Gov. Scott Walker struggle to develop a viable long-term transportation funding solution, it is imperative for lawmakers to identify the efficiencies within the state Department of Transportation’s budget.
He said that motorists and truck drivers deserve access to great roads.
“We all submit that it is necessary to make infrastructure modernization a foremost priority,” Brooks said in a news release.
However, he added that he is not willing to consider new taxes or fees until there are certainties that there are no further efficiencies to implement at WisDOT.
“This bill is a first-rate example of those efficiencies.”
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