The League of Wisconsin Municipalities congratulates the successful applicants for the municipal portion of the Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) program competition. With this additional state support, these local economic development projects will create and sustain jobs across Wisconsin.
Decades of disinvestment have left Wisconsin’s transportation network with a long list of deferred transportation upkeep that cannot wait much longer. The fact that there were $1.4 billion in applications for $75 million in funding tells that story in an undeniable fashion. Many of those critical needs are in cities and villages, the economic centers of Wisconsin where 95% of commerce occurs. The MLS program was an important step toward addressing those critical needs and we look forward to working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), Governor Evers and the Wisconsin Legislature on additional necessary steps in the future.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank the Governor, the Legislature, Secretary Craig Thompson and the staff of WisDOT for the speed, efficiency and collaborative nature of the MLS program. The program was put in place with a minimum of additional paperwork “strings attached.” The application process was streamlined. We encourage the WisDOT to use this as a new 21st century template for grant programming. Let’s put more money in roads, bridges, buses and trails and less in paperwork.
We also wish to thank the grant review teams who had the unenviable task of deciding which projects would be funded and which would not. The overwhelming need at the local level made it a certainty that many, many worthy projects would not get funded. The 12 local government representatives who made up the city/village review committee did an excellent job of prioritizing projects. They also demonstrated the practicality that typifies local governments when they decided to increase the match requirement on most of the municipal projects. While this is never great news, the fact of the matter is that increasing the match expanded the list of communities that will benefit from the program without crippling the projects themselves.