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Questions loom over road construction funds

New Richmond,Wisconsin 54017
New Richmond News
Questions loom over road construction funds
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Wisconsin has enough money to pay for its road work from this summer. But as the federal Highway Trust Fund heads toward a deficit, officials wonder if they can afford future projects - like the $1.8 billion re-building of Interstate-94 that's planned from Milwaukee to the Illinois border.

The Department of Transportation is counting on federal money to pay for at least half of the freeway re-construction - as well as a revamping of an interchange near the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Last night, the U.S. Senate put $8 billion into the Highway Trust Fund, to help other states pay for their summer road projects.

U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., of Fond du Lac says states and communities have picked up bigger shares of highway costs, while the nation as a whole has fallen behind on its infrastructure.

State Senate Transportation Committee chairman Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, says lawmakers will need to examine the issue next year, because we cannot shut down the highway system.

Federal money is supposed to pay for about a quarter of Wisconsin's highway projects in the two-year budget period that ends next June.

Nobody has wanted to raise the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax, although revenues have plunged because we're driving less.