1/11/2020 – Wisconsin State Journal

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has received nearly 1,600 eligible applications — totaling more than $1.4 billion in total value — for an available $75 million in one-time grant funds.

Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson said the number and scope of applications for the Multimodal Local Supplement program underscores a statewide need for infrastructure upgrades.

“This process truly demonstrates the significant needs of the local system,” Thompson said in a statement. “It’s pretty staggering when you see the actual number of projects and their dollar value.”

The $75 million grant program was included in the 2019-21 budget and funds can go to road, bridge, harbor, transit, bicycle accommodation and railroad projects. Under the program, local projects can receive up to 90% of project costs, with local entities fronting the final 10%. Individual grants are capped at $3.5 million per project and eligible projects must include a six-year completion schedule.

“Our members were able to document their needs, and as you can see, those needs are real, and they are significant,” Dan Fedderly, executive director of the Wisconsin County Highway Association, said in a statement.

Of the applications received; 105 came from counties, totaling $225 million in value; 461 were received from cities and villages, totaling $674 million in value; and 1,030 came from towns, with a total project value of $568 million.

The $75 million in available funds is to be split three ways, $27 million for counties, $19 million for cities and villages and $29 million for towns.

“The needs are unquestionable, and while we realize this one-time grant program is not a long-term answer to more than a billion dollars of reported local community needs, it is a significant step in the right direction,” League of Wisconsin Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane said in a statement. “We have to start chipping away at these lists of projects.”

Project applications will be scored by three committees, with higher ratings offered to projects that demonstrate economic impact, enhance connectivity or those that are the most cost-effective.

Award amounts and recipients are expected to be announced in late February.