Transportation Budget Update

Posted By: Andrew Heidtke ACEC WI News, Advocacy,

The Joint Finance Committee acted on Transportation last Thursday. From here, the full legislature will approve the budget and send it to the Governor for final approval. There is still the possibility the Governor may veto the entire budget. Our summary is below; you can also read the full text here:
Revenue Enhancements

  • Total New Revenues = $484 million (all figures are over the biennium)
  • $95.00 Title Fee Increase = $272 million
  • $10 Passenger Vehicle Registration Fee Increase = $65 million
  • Modification to Registration Fee for Selected Vehicle Weight Class (all trucks from 4,500 to 10,000 lbs will pay $100 in annual registration fees) = $18 million
  • Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Fee = $11 million
  • Borrowing: borrows an additional $326.2 million for projects

Design-Build ( We are still reviewing all of the included design-build language but it is the language ACEC and WTBA worked on together)

  • Design-Build Pilot Program: The Republican motion required WisDOT to run up to six contracts through the design-build process that should be completed by 2025.
  • Alternative Project Delivery: Allow contractors to propose alternative technical requirements to complete certain projects.
  • Office of Innovative Program Delivery: Require WisDOT to create an office that would oversee and facilitate design-build projects and alternative project delivery.

 State & Federal Highways

  • Southeast Megaprojects:  Provide approximately $225 million (including bonding) which would keep completion schedules on time for major components of the project including the Zoo Interchange and enumerating the I-94 East-West.
  • Major Highways Development Program: Cut approximately $40 million from the program compared to 2018-19 base funding similar to Gov. Evers’ proposal.
  • Enumerate I-43 Project: Enumerate project extending 14.3 miles between Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties
  • Enumerate I-41 Project: Enumerate project extending 23 miles between STH 96 and CTH F in Brown and Outagamie counties.
  • State Highway Rehabilitation Program: Increase funding by more than $313 million over base, similar to Governor Evers’ proposal.

Local Roads

  • Local Roads Improvement Program: $90 million in one-time funding allocated as follows - $32 million for county projects, $22 million for municipalities, and $35 million for towns.
  • County Road Aids: Increase funding by $14 million over the biennium; a 10% increase.
  • Municipal Road Aids: Increase funding by $51 million over the biennium; a 10% increase.


  • Freight Rail Preservation Program: $30 million (bonding) to preserve and enhance freight rail infrastructure.
  • Intermodal Facilities Grants: $1.5 million to design and construct freight rail intermodal facilities in Wisconsin.
  • Passenger Rail Bonding: Provide $35 million (bonding) to increase passenger rail service on the Hiawatha line.


  • Harbor Assistance Program: $45 million (bonding) for harbor assistance grants.
  • Harbor Assistance Program Shipbuilder Grant: $29 million (bonding) for Fincantieri Marine Group’s Marinette facility.


  • Mileage-Based Fee Study: Provide the Department $2,500,000 SEG in 2019-20 to do the following: (a) enter into a contract not to exceed $2,500,000 for a mileage-based fee study that would outline the policies, procedures, and operations needed to implement such fees; and (b) a traffic and revenue analysis associated with such fees. Require the firm under contract for this study to report its findings to DOT and each house of the Legislature by December 1, 2022. Require DOT to submit a recommendation on an implementation plan for a mileage-based fee to the Joint Committee on Finance by January 1, 2023, and require the Committee to approve, modify, or deny the implementation of a mileage-based fee. Specify that if the Committee approves a mileage-based fee structure, there would be created within DOT a Division of Innovative Transportation Finance Systems, which would report directly to the DOT Secretary. Specify that this Division would administer any mileage-based fee structure approved by the Committee.  


  • Mass Transit Operating Assistance: Provide $553,700 SEG in 2019-20 and $2,214,800 SEG in 2020-21 to provide a 2% increase in mass transit operating assistance to each tier of mass transit systems for calendar year 2020 and thereafter.   
  • Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities: Provide $1,500,000 SEG annually to the county assistance program. Under this alternative, base funding for the county assistance program would increase to $15,977,800 annually (a 10.4% increase).
  • Para-transit Aids: Provide $275,000 annually to provide a 10% increase for paratransit aid. This would increase funding from $2,750,000 in base funding to $3,025,000 annually.