The governor signed the 2021-23 budget into law today. With his veto pen, the governor made the following modifications to the transportation budget passed by the legislature:
- Eliminated the increase in the ongoing general fund transfer to the transportation fund beyond this biennium. While the transfer will increase to .50% of general fund taxes in the second year of the budget, it will revert to .25% for fiscal year 2023-24 and after.
- Removed the requirement that WisDOT add an interchange to the I-41 expansion project where I-41 intersects with Southbridge Road/French Road in Brown County.
- Modified design-build provisions.
The cuts to Milwaukee and Madison Mass Transit Operating Aids were unable to be remedied with a gubernatorial veto. In anticipation of this, Milwaukee County and the City of Madison have been working with the governor’s office on ways to offset the $41.3 million funding reduction over the biennium ($32.7 million for Milwaukee County and $8.6 million for the City of Madison).
Read Governor Evers' veto message here
The 2021-23 transportation budget:
- Increases the State Highway Rehabilitation Program $72.6 million (3.6%) over base funding.
- Maintains funding for the Major Highway Development Program.
- Enumerates the I-94 East-West project and provides funding to keep the project moving forward.
- Authorizes $20 million in bonding to fund projects built using design-build.
- Increases General Transportation Aids 2% each year.
- Provides an additional $250,000 annually for the Wisconsin Employment Transportation Assistance Program.
- Ups Paratransit Aids by 2.5% each year and funding for the specialized transportation assistance program for seniors and individuals with disabilities by 2.5% annually.
- Provides $100 million in a one-time supplemental Local Roads Improvement Program funding.
- Includes $15.3 million in bonding for the Harbor Assistance Program and $20 million in bonding for the Freight Rail Preservation Program.
Bill to Eliminate the Personal Property Tax
During the budget-signing press conference, Governor Evers announced his plan to veto a bill eliminating the personal property tax paid by businesses. The governor explained he kept the money in the budget to cover the cost of repealing the personal property tax (lost revenue to local governments), hoping the legislature will come back in session and pass a better bill.
As passed by the legislature, the bill to repeal the personal property tax would have backfilled the state transportation fund with money from the general fund – $20 million in fiscal year 2022 and $44 million in subsequent fiscal years – to make up for the loss of tax revenue from railroad equipment.