Investing in Infrastructure
Protecting and Investing in Wisconsin's Transportation Infrastructure
Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure is a part of our heritage as the dairy state. Many of the state’s industries, from manufacturing to tourism, timber to grain, depend on a healthy transportation system, including roads, bridges, freight rail, ports, and airports.
Businesses across the state depend on a strong transportation backbone. The tourism industry relies on our transportation system to bring people to visit our state’s many tourist destinations. In addition, manufacturing, dairy, and many other industries need a quality transportation system to get product to and from markets efficiently, so they can maintain their competitive edge.
All businesses and their workers, whether a dairy farmer from Wrightstown, a timber company from Hayward, or a dock worker from Superior, need a solid transportation infrastructure to compete in the global marketplace.
That is why the 2015-17 Biennial Budget invests more than $6 billion in the state’s transportation infrastructure while holding the line on taxes and fees, thus allowing Wisconsin to continue to maintain and develop existing infrastructure projects. This budget also fully funds the previously enacted four percent increase for general transportation aids and transit operating aids to local governments, so local governments can maintain the roads and transit systems integral in the daily lives of Wisconsin’s citizens and economy.
Wisconsin state highways play an essential role in the transportation of goods to and from market, as well as visitors to Wisconsin as they travel to the state’s various tourist destinations. This budget maintains critical investments in large-scale highway projects and allocates $414.6 million total to keep the core sections of the Zoo Interchange project on schedule. Additionally, we invest $486.4 million in Major Highway Program projects and $1.5 billion in total funding for the State Highway Rehabilitation Program, which oversees imperative maintenance activities, such as repaving, that prevent deterioration and costlier repairs in the future.
Bridges are another key aspect of Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure, improving Wisconsin’s economic growth by providing a path for goods and travelers across major bodies of water. Additional infrastructure investments in the state budget include fully funding state-owned lift bridges, as well as investing a total of $36.8 million over the biennium for the Stillwater Bridge and Hoan Bridge to go towards the completion of these ongoing projects.
The 2015-17 budget recognizes the importance of Wisconsin’s rail network and allocates $35 million to the Freight Rail Preservation Program, which allows Wisconsin to obtain and improve upon abandoned rail lines and diversify its infrastructure holdings, which will in turn provide more opportunities for businesses in the state to transport goods to market.