Budget BLOG

A key piece of Gov. Scott Walker’s outline to break the budget impasse could include the state getting 10 times what it typically receives when the federal government redistributes unused federal transportation aid.

In a letter to the Legislature’s top GOP leaders, the guv outlined a possible deal that would include cutting transportation-funded borrowing to $300 million, down from the $500 million he originally proposed. Walker’s proposed deal also includes approving contingency bonding for southeastern Wisconsin mega projects tied to receiving more federal money.

The state has averaged $33.7 million in federal redistribution aid over the past five years, according to a memo the Legislative Fiscal Bureau prepared for state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.

But DOT has indicated it plans to seek $341 million, LFB said.

A Walker spokesman stressed the agency’s request is not final and the amount requested “will be part of the ongoing discussions we have with the Legislature.

“However, we believe there are many opportunities to include redistribution and FASTLANE grants for federal funding if coupled with contingent bonding to match federal funds that can support mega projects,” Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said.

The guv’s proposal, which comes five days after the start of the traditional budget passage date, was knocked by Dems, who slammed Walker for seeking federal money to boost transportation while turning down funds to expand Medicaid.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos were skeptical that Walker’s outline for a transportation deal would break the ongoing budget impasse even as they welcomed his effort to find a deal.

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