January 2018 News & JFI Update  1/29/2018
2018 Fly-in
May 22-24

TDA and the Minnesota Transportation Alliance have planned a joint Fly-in. It is really a merging of the best of the two state events. This is a great opportunity to try something new and meet transportation advocates from a neighboring state.

With the transportation debate heating up in DC, May will be the perfect time to go educate the Wisconsin delegation about the needs back home.
Don't wait to make your plans! Hotel space is limited.

Click  here  for the event brochure and  here  to register online.
Just Fix It Update
Checking Gov. Walker's claim that state DOT is ahead of the game

PolitiFact Wisconsin
By D.L. Davis on Friday, January 26th, 2018

Given the perpetual orange barrels and accompanying traffic delays on Milwaukee area highways, drivers could be forgiven if they pounded the steering wheel after a recent tweet from Gov. Scott Walker.

"Road projects across the state are staying on track or getting done sooner thanks to the good work of the team at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation," the governor tweeted Dec. 18, 2017.

Responses from the Twitterverse showed not everyone was in the same lane:

"Apparently the 94/45 interchange isn’t part of the state."

"#WI: worst roads between the Rockies and Atlantic Ocean"

"When is that zoo interchange supposed to be done again? 2018? 2019? 2020? . . . and counting."

Let’s give this one a spin. Read more
CRAIG THOMPSON: Roller-coaster ride of highway funding

La Crosse Tribune (and other newspapers around the state)
January 14, 2018

Now that 2017 is in the rearview mirror, it is time to look back on what was a wild ride when it came to transportation funding in the state of Wisconsin. Google Maps could not possibly have mapped this route.

The year began with a state audit of the Department of Transportation that documented that Wisconsin state highways conditions are the worst in the Midwest. And not by a little bit. Local governments across Wisconsin chimed in to remind anyone who would listen that local roads were in just as bad or worse condition than the state’s highways.

Gov. Scott Walker traveled to northern Wisconsin and told a group in Ashland that while he would not propose raising more money for transportation overall, that local governments would get an increase in funding. When asked how he could accomplish this he responded, “...we are certainly not doing any in the Milwaukee area, we are putting all our money in major increases for county municipal roads and bridges, and the largest amount we have ever put into state highway rehab.”

This stood in stark contrast to a document the Assembly Republicans had put out previously, titled “No Easy Answers.” In this document, they contend the entire system is important and underfunded. They concluded by asking: “And it is up to us to decide what road we will take: Will we be penny-wise and pound-foolish, punting the problem to future legislatures, or will we work on responsible solutions that don’t leave our kids and grandkids holding the bag?” (Spoiler alert: It ends up being the former of those two options.) Read more
News Around the Nation
Possible Outline of Trump Infrastructure Package Surfaces

President Trump is expected to unveil his infrastructure plan during his State of the Union address or shortly thereafter.
However, what is thought to be an outline of the long-awaited plan surfaced last week. While there are no numbers in the document, only percentages, it is still expected Trump will announce a $1 trillion plus plan, leveraging approximately $200 billion of additional direct federal investment over the next 10 years.

The outline doesn’t specify how the incremental federal spending will be funded.  It also doesn’t address the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which along with a healthy share of general revenue, supports existing transportation programs.

Infrastructure in this outline covers a broad range of projects: surface transportation, airports, passenger rail, maritime and inland waterway ports, flood control, water supply, hydropower, water resources, drinking water facilities, storm water facilities, Brownfield and Superfund sites.

Plan components:
  • 50 percent of funds would be allocated to the Infrastructure Incentives Initiative. The federal grants could not exceed 20 percent of total project cost, encouraging state, local, and private investment in infrastructure improvements. This is in stark contrast to the traditional 80 percent federal share allowed on federal-aid aid projects. The Grants would be awarded based on how submissions score against a set of criteria, with no state being eligible to receive more than 10 percent of the total amount of available funds.
  • 10 percent of funds would be dedicated to the Transformative Projects Program which would provide funds for “exploratory and ground-breaking” projects unable to secure financing through the private sector due to their risk. The Department of Commerce would administer this program with an interagency selection committee.
  • 25 percent of funds would support the Rural Infrastructure Program. The funds would be distributed by formula as block grants without federal requirements in areas with a population of less than 50,000. Governors would control 80 percent of the funds. The remaining 20 percent would be designated for “rural performance grants” to implement a “rural infrastructure investment plan,” which must be published within 180 days of receiving funds.
  • 7.05 percent of funds would be used for Federal Credit Programs to increase the capacity of existing infrastructure lending programs.
  • 5 percent of funds would be designated for the Federal Capital Financing Fund to finance purchases of federally-owned civilian property. The revolving fund would allow agencies to purchase property and repay the fund over 15 years.
  • Broaden the eligibility for Private Activity Bonds to encourage private investment, including reconstruction projects and ports and airports.
  • 2.95 percent not allocated.
Association News
Save these Dates
  • 2018 Fly-in: May 22-24
  • 2018 fall forums: September & October (to be announced)
  • 2018 Annual Meeting: Wednesday, November 14