State lawmakers have covered a gap in road aids by delaying some major highway projects. Craig Thompson, executive director of the Transportation Development Association, said legislators on the Joint Finance Committee did the best they could in grappling with a more than $60 million shortfall in the state’s roads fund
“I don’t think a lot of that was unexpected, and I think it was a fairly responsible way to deal with the shortfall,” said Thompson. “For this next two year period, what they put together will push back a couple of the projects. It is something that’s going to have to be dealt with in terms of ongoing funding.”
The budget writers on the Joint Finance Committee addressed the funding shortfall by cutting funding for highways and other projects by $59.5 million. That will delay work on the large I-94 North-South and Zoo Interchange projects in the metro Milwaukee area. Thompson said those projects really can’t be put off much longer. “We’ve already done a temporary bridge for the Zoo Interchange, only to have to tear it down and do it again. It’s the state’s busiest intersection, I don’t think we can afford to put it off any longer.”
Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal already relies on $1 billion in borrowing to fund road projects, as well as about $450 million more in transfers into the transportation budget.
Thompson said his members were glad to see Joint Finance increase funding for mass transit and local road aids as part of the transportation portion of the state budget.