MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Friday his executive budget will include nearly a billion dollars more for transportation projects, including rebuilding a congested Milwaukee interchange, but he's not saying where he'd come up with the cash.
A bipartisan transportation task force Walker and the Legislature put together recommended last month the state should raise gas taxes and impose new mileage-based vehicle registration fees. Walker and other Republican leaders have rejected those ideas out of hand.
Walker was on the road Friday, announcing the transportation investment at news conferences in Pewaukee, Green Bay and Baraboo. His spokeswoman in Madison reiterated the governor won't raise the gas tax or impose new registration fees but had no additional details, saying she had to gather background information. She didn't immediately return follow-up messages.
Walker's office issued a press release saying the budget will provide $6.4 billion for transportation expenses ranging from road reconstruction to filling State Patrol vacancies. The release said that figure includes $824 million in new money. The budget will prioritize revenue streams and make "sensible operational reforms" but offered no other details on how the governor would generate the money.
According to the release, the governor wants to spend $550 million on rebuilding the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee, the spot where interstates 94 and 894 intersect with U.S. Highway 45.
Other commitments would include $236 million for work on the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee; $10.7 million for grants to improve commercial harbors; $60 million for preserving railroad tracks; $55 million more for road maintenance; and $2.7 million to train State Patrol recruits.
Walker is scheduled to release the full budget on Wednesday. The Legislature's finance committee will revise the plan and send it on to the full state Senate and Assembly for approval. From there it will go back to Walker for his signature. The whole process is expected to take most of the spring.