Your Views: Candidate Scieszinski is wrong about I 39/90 funding

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The charge in last Wednesday night’s state Senate candidate debate by Austin Scieszinski that the Interstate 39/90 expansion project was approved because of back-door maneuvering by former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan is inaccurate.

Wisconsin has a logical ranking process in place to evaluate projects such as this that prevents projects from being approved by the Legislature unless there is adequate funding to begin construction within six years. This is why the Transportation Projects Commission did not advance projects until the end of former Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration.

When funding under the Major Highway Program became available as projects were completed, the I-39/90 project was the top-ranked project for enumeration based on economic development, safety and community benefits.

The state-federal funding split for this project is not a legitimate issue—a point that has been made repeatedly to legislators and other interest groups. What matters is that WisDOT has committed to fully fund this project. The department routinely changes the state-federal funding mix of projects to ensure that it allocates all of its federal funding so that the state is eligible for redistribution of any federal funds at the end of the fiscal year. It’s responsible financial planning by a public agency.

Forward Janesville deserves credit for mobilizing the many interests in the Janesville area through the I-39/90 NOW Coalition to make this project a reality.


Executive director

Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association

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