The “Just Fix The Damn Roads” Governor diverts transportation funding to other priorities
Locals ask DOT to pay for bike paths, a scenic overlook and converting railroad station into a museum
MacIver News Service
By Bill Osmulski
Money set aside specifically for local road repairs fed a free-for-all cash grab after Gov. Evers’ diverted it into a new grant program open to any local “transportation” project.
That opened the door to dozens of local pet projects, some of which are tourism projects that have nothing to do with transportation.
Gov. Evers created this program, called the “Multimodal Local Supplement program” (MLS), with $75 million the legislature budgeted for the Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) using his veto pen. On Thursday, the Department of Transportation announced that the new program received $1.5 billion in grant requests, but the program has a budget of only $75 million.
The non-road requests include a pedestrian underpass, bike paths, bus shelters, and equipment purchases. Requests for bike paths/pedestrian walkways alone hit $50 million.
Many of those requests clearly have more to do with tourism than with transportation, such as West Bend’s $4.1 million downtown riverwalk and the Potawatomi Tribe’s $600,000 ATV trail. However, some requests seemingly have nothing to do with transportation at all. The City of Spooner wants $3.9 million to renovate an old railroad roundhouse into a tourist attraction (See picture above). The Village of Belleville wants $542,000 to restore their old train depot into business space. The Town of Solon Springs wants $347,500 for a scenic overlook.
Read Bill’s full story here.