WAUWATOSA -- Governor Scott Walker traveled the state on Thursday, September 15th to tout the latest Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) budget proposal, saying it reflects his administration's priorities. But even members of his own party don't see it that way and are not happy about it.
Construction zones are a familiar experience for drivers who frequently use the Zoo Interchange and other project areas. Under the latest budget request, some of those projects will be facing multiple year delays.
Governor Walker says the DOT's budget proposal for 2017 to 2019, does what he hoped it would. He says it increases funds to local government and focuses on safety and maintenance of the state's existing infrastructure.
"To do that in a way that met my commitment to the voters of the state when I said I was not going to raise gas taxes or vehicle registration fees without a corresponding reduction in taxes," said Walker.
Some projects were prioritized over others, and that means there will be delays. Governor Walker says the core of the Zoo Interchange project will be completed on time, but the north leg of the project will be delayed two years.
"We looked at a number of projects that were of utmost importance like the I-39/90 corridor like 441 and 10, and we said those are important to do now there are other projects that are important in the future but don't necessarily need to be done," Walker said
The proposed budget does not include any additional funding for the I-94 north and south project. Even members of his own party say they were blindsided by that move, and they're not happy about it.
"Now this is the third time so how many times are we going to get pushed back? It doesn't make sense," said Republican State Senator Van Wanggaard.
Wanggaard says the I-94 project was previously delayed to fund other, more pressing projects. But he was promised it would be included in the upcoming budget. He says completing it is an economic issue for the state.
"We need to have that infrastructure in place so that these huge businesses like Amazon and Ulin, these are huge huge businesses that bring tons of jobs here; if they can't get their products in and out and they can't keep those trucks moving, they're not going to locate here," said Wangaard.