RE: Stage 2 of the Verona Road Construction Project MUST NOT be delayed.
Dear Governor Walker:
On behalf of the Verona Road Business Coalition, we urge you to find a path to financing the Verona Road project so that there are no delays in the construction.
The businesses along the Verona Road corridor are mostly small, local businesses, representing the backbone of the Wisconsin economy. But this region is also home to a number of the county's premier large corporations including: Epic Systems, a world leader in health care software technology and one of Dane County's largest employers, located in Verona; Saris Cycling Group, a manufacturer of bike racks, located in Fitchburg; and Sub-Zero/Wolf, a manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances with locations in Madison and Fitchburg, Certco, Placon, ThermoFisher, Benjamin Plumbing and General Beverage. Of all the WisDOT road construction projects subject to delay as a result of the recent budget cuts, this corridor is the most urban and commercial. In addition, it appears to have the largest safety concerns.
As to safety, according to the Wisconsin DOT, "The Verona Road (US 18/151) corridor operates at unacceptable levels of service, meaning unreliable travel conditions. With over 41,000 vehicles driving on Verona Road every single day,
increased traffic volumes have led to an increase in congestion-related crashes. Between 2006 and 2008, there were 342 crashes on Verona Road from the Beltline to County PD, two to three times the statewide average for a similar corridor."
As to commercial impact, the WisDOT has identified congestion along Verona Road that result in "significant delays and backups during peak travel times ..... Without corrective action, current and future travelers will experience deteriorating driving conditions within the corridor, including significantly reduced speeds and worsening congestion."
This sort of congestion makes it very difficult for manufacturers and wholesale distributors in the Verona Road corridor to conduct business in an efficient way and for small businesses in the corridor to maintain their customer base.
Finally, the economic impact to the region is significant. The Transportation Development Association's Economic Impact Study shows that Fitchburg and Verona are two of the fastest growing communities in Dane County.
The Verona Road construction costs represent $149 Million to complete and an Economic Impact of over $250 Million to the State.
No one denies that this road construction project will significantly impact the businesses and commuters along Verona Road. Why is the current legislature not prioritizing healthy business development by reducing delays in construction that has already begun? Businesses need more certainty in order to make rational business decisions. The uncertainty surrounding Verona Road Stage 2 construction question creates an unfriendly business environment for all concerned locally and on a statewide basis.
We urge you to advocate for a package of fees, taxes, and bonding to complete this vital though burdensome road construction in our communities.
The Verona Road Business Coalition and
the undersigned businesses within the Verona Road Corridor
(Your company name & logo here)