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October 6, 2016 12:15 PM, EDT

Wisconsin Transportation Leaders Unveil Freight Proposal

Positioning Wisconsin as a national leader in commercial transportation is among the goals of a draft freight plan the state’s transportation agency unveiled recently.

The draft plan aims to connect investments in transportation projects to economic development, reflect the interests of road users and industry stakeholders, and measure the transportation network’s progress in the coming years.

Funding large-scale freight projects has proved to be challenging for state officials. While the plan would establish an investment strategy, it noted the funding concerns shared among stakeholders.

“Without increases in funding to maintain and, where possible, increase purchasing power, WisDOT and local governments cannot keep pace with maintenance and presentation needs. This will result in a growing backlog of necessary but uncompleted work,” according to the draft. “The larger the backlog gets, the longer presentation projects will be delayed, resulting in probable project cost increases that will exacerbate already strained budgets.”

DOT officials are asking the public to share their views about the plan through Nov. 14. In the meantime, transportation officials plan to engage with residents and business owners to hear their views and concerns directly.

The next public hearings will be held Oct. 11 at 4:30 p.m. local time at the Longfellow Administration Center in Wausau, Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the Kromrey Middle School in Middleton, and Oct. 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center in West Allis.