Walker’s plan to boost local road aid would cost additional $53M per year

WisDOT photo.

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to increase the state’s share of transportation funding to towns would likely cost an additional $53 million over a calendar year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

That bump in funding would bring the state’s total transportation funding allocation to towns to about $202 million over a calendar year from the current $149 million. The proposal would increase the percentage of funding the state provides to municipalities from the current 42 percent to 58 percent.

Most state transportation funding to towns is distributed through mileage aid, which takes the total miles of road multiplied by a set rate.

That rate, set at $2,389 per mile in 2018, would increase to about $3,300 under the governor’s proposal. Walker in a statement said the proposal would amount to the largest amount of transportation funding for municipalities the state has ever provided.

Walker’s proposal comes after he pledged to increase the percentage of state transportation funding to towns to 30 percent. The highest percentage the state ever provided was 28.2 percent in 1998. It’s currently at 19.5 percent.

Walker’s proposed boost to counties would amount to an increase of $57 million in the next budget. State aid for the current year is $111.1 million, while overall county transportation costs are nearly $570 million, according to DOT.

Dem guv candidate Tony Evers told reporters at a Dem Party field office in Madison the guv’s plan is “a joke.”

And he touted his approach, in referencing past comments to the Wisconsin Counties Association and Wisconsin Towns Association, saying his promise is to “be a partner.”

“We have to solve this issue around infrastructure in the state of Wisconsin,” Evers said. “Scott Walker has been the only person standing in the way of that.”

Evers has yet to release details of his transportation plan, saying he’ll work with bipartisan stakeholders after the election, if he wins, to find “a reasonable solution.”

Evers also downplayed Walker’s pledge to restore the state’s commitment to funding two-thirds of public education in the next budget.

“As you know, he released no plan,” the state superintendent said. “He just said the words ‘two-thirds.’ That doesn’t mean anything until we see the plan.”

Evers included a provision in the Department of Public Instruction budget request to restore two-thirds funding over the next biennium.

The state is at 65.8 percent for the 2018-19 school year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Evers’ comments came at a news conference on health care with former Kansas Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

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