Skilled Construction Trades and Respected Contractors
Building Wisconsin Together ®
Welcome to Construction Business Group's Industry Updates.  This monthly e-newsletter will help us communicate the important initiatives that we have underway and relevant updates on issues that impact Wisconsin's construction industry.  
Message from Executive Director  Robb Kahl

It is the end of June and budget discussions are still stalled on transportation funding. This is surprising given that Republicans control the Governorship and both houses of the Legislature. The lack of consensus amongst our elected leaders becomes even more puzzling in light of the fact that Wisconsinites-irrespective of party affiliation-appear to be in agreement on how the transportation funding crisis should be handled.

A recent poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin reveals that there is broad-based consensus on transportation issues amongst Wisconsin voters. First, 60% of all voters, and 52% of Republicans, from all geographic regions of the State, support prevailing wage laws. In other words, people do not see repealing prevailing wage as a solution to the transportation funding crisis.

Secondly, the poll results prove that voters universally believe transportation is important to the economy. An overwhelming majority of voters believe that raising revenue is appropriate, and they oppose borrowing and construction delays. The key findings are:
  • 99% of voters believe transportation is important to the Wisconsin economy,
  • 76% of voters support a proposal that would cost them an extra $4 a month to fund transportation.
  • Voters do not want to keep borrowing money for transportation. 83% believe we should use a pay-as-you go system.
  • 62% of voters voice strong opposition to construction delays.
Finally, who is to blame for Wisconsin's transportation funding mess? Voters feel the blame lies mostly with the Governor.
Despite the very clear consensus of Wisconsin voters, Wisconsin heads into the holiday weekend without a budget and without a solution on transportation funding. To read more on the poll, visit TDA's website, .

Industry News and Updates
Labor Updates
Chowdhury: Repeal of prevailing wage would hurt Wisconsin economy
Out-of-state companies received $32 million in contracts for municipal projects in Wisconsin between January and April of this year, up from about $21 million during the same period in 2016. That represents a 53% increase.

Contracts that should be going to Wisconsin companies are now being given away to out-of-state companies from Florida, Kentucky and Missouri. The difference? No prevailing wage protection on municipal projects.

Legislative Alerts
Rep. Loudenbeck offers plan to solve budget stalemate
As the Wisconsin Legislature's budget-writing committee remains in a stand-off with Gov. Scott Walker over key issues in dueling budget proposals, one lawmaker is drafting a plan for the future of transportation funding in the state.

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, and member of the Joint Finance Committee, has pitched the idea of charging a per-mile fee on heavy trucks and assorted freight traffic to raise upwards of $250 million for the state's highway network over the next two years. The plan, which has yet to be introduced to the JFC, could be part of a larger revenue package to solve transportation funding issues.

GOP lawmakers chide each other for 'laughable' stances on road budget (UPDATE)

Budget talks between Wisconsin Assembly and Senate Republicans broke down, with leaders from both sides abruptly ending a closed-door meeting and calling each other's position on how to pay for road construction projects "laughable."

The current two-year budget ends on June 30th, but the Republican-controlled Legislature will not pass a new one in time. Instead, current spending levels will continue while lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker struggle to reach an agreement.

Read more


From the News Stand
Approval of Perkins Funding for Career & Technical Education Looks Promising

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, according to The Hill. Last overhauled in 2006, the legislation allocates money to secondary and postsecondary schools to provide students with job skills training in fields from construction to computer technology.


Read More


Business Expresses Concerns on Highway Tolling
Wisconsin business leaders say a plan to introduce highway tolling to help pay for road work could hurt the economy.

Budget Impasse Could Stall DOT Letting

If Wisconsin lawmakers don't soon break their impasse over the state's road budget, the consequences for major highway projects could start showing up as early as WisDOT's August bid letting, an industry official is warning.

Road Funding Still Stumbling Block In Budget Talks

Senate Republicans Propose More Borrowing For Roads, Assembly Republicans Push Back

Republicans who run the state Legislature remain at odds over major pieces of Wisconsin's budget, with no end in sight to the dispute over how much the state should pay for roads.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald recently announced that Fitzgerald supports borrowing $850 million for roads in the next budget. That's $350 million more than Gov. Scott Walker proposed in the budget he unveiled earlier this year.

Federal court dismisses State 23 case
A federal appellate panel dismissed an appeal by state officials on the State 23 expansion between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac. 

In appealing, state officials had been trying to get federal funds to expand the highway from two lanes to four in order to make it safer.

From the News Stand
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Announces Retirement
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman indicated that he will not seek re-election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This unexpected announcement caught even the most astute political observers by surprise. Traditionally, Supreme Court Justices serve for more than one term.
Justice Gableman was elected to a ten-year term on the state's highest court in 2008. Next spring, Wisconsin voters will choose his replacement.

Association News  

Statewide Poll Confirms Clear Public, Republican Support for Preserving Prevailing Wage Law

A statewide poll paints a revealing picture of support for Wisconsin's Prevailing Wage law, a law established to set a minimum, fair wage for state-funded construction projects. The poll found that an overwhelming 60% of Wisconsin voters support the Prevailing Wage law, and even a majority of republican voters, 52%, support it. The poll comes in advance of state republican legislators' consideration of a full repeal of the Prevailing Wage law.

"Every peer-reviewed, reliable study comes to the same conclusion - repealing this law will hurt Wisconsin's working men and women, local economies, in-state contractors, and veterans and, in the end, doesn't save taxpayers a dime," said Tom Schaitel, a WIIN officer and board member, who is also the Chief Operating Officer of KS Energies.


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