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State Representative Loren Oldenburg on transportation in the 2023-2025 state budget

Editorial Column by Representative Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua)

As we all know, summer means construction season has officially begun across our states local roads and highways. Each year, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) completes between 350 and 400 state highway projects. The DOT also passes funding through to local governments for road construction in your town, city, and neighborhood. The 2023-2025 Wisconsin state budget includes $1.5 billion dollars in new funding for transportation. Of this total amount, funds have been allocated for the state highway rehabilitation program, the newly created agricultural roads improvement program, and the local bridge improvement assistance program.

$125 million dollars in funding will be used to support the state highway rehabilitation program. This program is responsible for the construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the state’s highway system, which consists of interstate highways, U.S. highways, and state highways. Included in the program are three main components: the state highway rehabilitation (SHR) program, the major highway development program, and the southeast Wisconsin freeway megaprojects program.

The Agricultural Roads Improvement Program, created in this year’s budget, will be receiving $150 million dollars in funding over the biennium. This program was created under the Local Roads Improvement Program, since agricultural road improvements would likely not receive priority from other state-aid programs. I am excited to see how this program helps connect farmers, agricultural producers, and consumers in rural communities across Wisconsin.

In addition to road projects, the Legislature made substantial investments in bridge projects throughout Wisconsin, including almost $54 million dollars for the local bridge improvement assistance program. This program helps local governments with bridge assessment and construction costs. For smaller projects, around $12 million dollars was set aside for the assessment of local bridges and culverts that are 20 feet or less in length.

Reading through the spring surveys I received, I know that fixing Wisconsin’s roads was a top priority for a lot of my constituents in the 96th. I am hopeful that these investments into state highways, rural roads used by the agricultural community, and bridges will help address some of these concerns. For further questions or concerns regarding transportation funding in the state budget, please feel free to contact my office at Rep.oldenburg@legis.wisconsin.gov or at (608) 237-9196

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