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
West Riverside Energy Center Officially Open!
I was honored to be asked to participate in Alliant Energy’s official opening of its West Riverside Energy Center on April 28, 2022. While the plant has been operational for some time, the ribbon cutting event was delayed due to COVID.

The West Riverside facility is a combined cycle natural gas electric generation facility that can power 550,000 homes. The project budget was $700 million, but project costs are coming in nearly $25 million under budget. Wisconsin trades workers helped make that happen.

Alliant Energy has a long history of using local labor to build their generation facilities, and the West Riverside project is a prime example of Alliant Energy’s deep commitment to the communities that it serves. The West Riverside project created more than 1,000 construction jobs per year between 2017 and 2020. For an apprentice working on the project during that time span, that means they could have started and completed their apprenticeship on just one job, which is very rare. 

Using the economic analysis recently utilized by Forward Analytics in a study regarding the importance of local labor being utilized on solar projects, CBG estimates the total economic impact generated locally during construction of West Riverside to be more than $250 million. That impact would have been significantly less if local labor had not been utilized.

The West Riverside project had over 3,125,000 craft hours worked with no lost time incidents. That is right—over 3 million hours worked and no lost time incidents. Skilled, safe, on time and on/under budget is what you get when you partner with the Wisconsin building trades. Alliant Energy knows that this means better value for their customers.

Building new electric generation facilities can be controversial. To avoid catastrophic failures of the power grid during weather extremes like what happened in Texas in early 2021, the reality is that we must have safe and reliable sources of baseload electric generation, which means facilities using natural gas, coal or nuclear fuel. The West Riverside facility emits less than half the carbon dioxide, about two-thirds less nitrogen and 99% less sulfur and mercury than traditional coal-fired facilities. It also has an integrated solar facility. The clean energy from the sun will be delivered to the natural gas facility and offset its auxiliary power needs.

The facility has received several awards for its sustainability and innovation, including:

  • The Envision Platinum award for sustainable infrastructure – the highest attainable Envision recognition level.

The West Riverside is a win for the Wisconsin building trades, a win for the local economy, a win for environment and a win for safe, reliable power. Thank you, Alliant Energy for your continued support and commitment to the communities you serve. 
Building Wisconsin Together®

Employers Wanted - Youth Apprenticeship
In the fall of 2020, the Operating Engineers joined five other construction trades that operate a formal Youth Apprenticeship program through DWD: carpentry, electrical, masonry/concrete, mechanical/HVAC, and plumbing/sprinkler fitting. Word of Youth Apprenticeship opportunity has gotten out to School-to-Work Coordinators, parents and students. We need help placing these high school juniors and seniors with employers. 
What is Youth Apprenticeship? 

Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is the connection between school and work-based learning. YA is a school-to-work initiative that combines classroom academic
instruction with mentored on-the-job paid training.
The requirements are:

  • 180 hours of technical related classroom instruction (Destinations Career Academy courses)
  • 450 hours of mentored on-the-job paid training
  • One or two-year commitment
The Boldt Company recently celebrated Signing Day with their Youth Apprentices that have committed to continuing their careers at Boldt.  Three of the Youth Apprentices (Bailey Coenen, Bryce Moder and Charlie Nushart) are bridging into Apprenticeship with Local 139. 
To learn more about Operating Engineers Youth Apprenticeship, please contact Laura Cataldo at (608) 616-2835 or
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Future of Milwaukee's Stadium Freeway Studied
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announced this week an 18-month study of the future of the Stadium Freeway (STH 175) north of American Family Field in Milwaukee. There have been calls for years to replace the freeway with a smaller-scale boulevard to better link neighborhoods and provide options for other modes of travel. The study will focus on a 1.5-mile portion of the freeway between West Wisconsin and Lisbon avenues.
About 20 years ago, a similar effort resulted in replacing the Park East Freeway in Milwaukee with surface streets in the area where Fiserv Forum now exists. Last year's federal infrastructure bill provides new emphasis for such projects with its Reconnecting Communities pilot program -- a $1 billion effort to help communities reconstruct roads in a way that better connects neighborhoods.
Like much of the Milwaukee freeway system, the Stadium Freeway was built 60 years ago and has reached the end of its lifespan.
$1 Billion Available for Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced the availability of $1 billion in fiscal year 2022 funding for the federal infrastructure law’s new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program. SS4A provides dedicated funding to support local efforts to prevent roadway deaths and serious injury.
This announcement came as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released estimates showing traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high in 2021.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created the SS4A discretionary program and appropriated $5 billion over five years, $1 billion a year.
Eligibility for the program is broad and includes metropolitan planning organizations, counties, cities, towns, and transit agencies, federally recognized Tribal governments, and multijurisdictional groups. Applications are due on or before Sept. 15, 2022.
More information about SS4A, including the Notice of Funding Opportunity and upcoming webinars, is available here.
OSHA'S New National Emphasis Program (NEP): Heat-Related Hazards
OSHA has announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) focused on heat hazards, effective April 8, 2022. Under the NEP, OSHA will be conducting proactive inspections for heat-related hazards—in both outdoor and indoor work environments. It thus behooves employers to ensure they have implemented appropriate safety measures to protect employees from such hazards before potentially coming under OSHA’s heat lamp—er, spotlight. Full Article
JFC Approves Federal Plan, Local Projects to be Announced Soon
On April 26, the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) approved with slight modification the Wisconsin Department of Transportation plan for spending additional federal funds resulting primarily from the new federal infrastructure law. By Wisconsin Statutes, the department must submit a federal plan to the JFC if the amount of federal-aid highway funds is less than 95 percent or greater than 105 percent of the amounts appropriated in the state’s biennial budget.
The department estimates that state fiscal year (SFY) 2022 federal funding will exceed the SFY 2022 amounts in the 2021-23 biennial budget by $282.9 million or 35.2 percent. This additional funding includes increased traditional federal-aid highway formula funds and new bridge formula funds from the federal infrastructure law, plus general fund supplement formula funds and earmarks included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, and August 2021 redistribution funds.
The distribution of the additional support is as follows:

  • State Highway Rehabilitation: $123.6 million      
  • Local Transportation Facility Improvement Assistance: $83.8 million
  • Local Bridge Improvement Assistance: $60.7 million
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ): $4.3 million
  • Transportation Alternatives Program: $10.5 million
Except for about 60 million bridge formula funds and supplemental general funds these additional dollars need to be obligated by the end of the current federal fiscal year, Sept. 30.
The JFC modified the WisDOT plan by limiting the use of CMAQ money to eligible highway right-of-way improvement projects that reduce congestion or improve traffic flow and eligible traffic signaling improvements. The committee also deleted the department’s requests for a full-time position in the State Patrol’s motor carrier investigation unit and an adjustment to departmental management and operations appropriations.
Local Projects
WisDOT has been working with local government groups for months to prepare for the increased federal funding. The department received 358 applications requesting $263 million in local road program federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022 Surface Transportation Program funding. The department is expected to announce FFY 2022 local projects soon.
Local Bridge and Surface Transportation Program applications for FFY 2023 –2026 are due June 3, 2022.
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