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Wisconsin Republicans introduce transportation reform bill

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Capitol in Madison

MADISON, Wis.  — A group of Republican legislators is circulating a bill that would impose sweeping reforms on the state Department of Transportation.

The measure would repeal prevailing wage laws; allow municipalities to impose wheel taxes only through referendums; require local government approval for roundabouts; shift money for state highway repairs to local transportation assistance programs; and create an DOT inspector general. The bill also lays out alternative methods for delivering road projects, including having a single contractor handle all phases of a project.

The lawmakers who authored the bill said in a memo seeking co-sponsors Thursday that the agency needs reform after an audit earlier this year found it had been under-estimating the cost of highway projects by millions of dollars.

A DOT spokeswoman didn’t immediately reply to an email.