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
Yesterday, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #1 imposing a statewide mandate to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Emergency Order was issued after six weeks of increasing numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the release of a July 26, 2020 report from the President's COVID-19 Task Force, which identified Wisconsin as a "red zone" state and recommended, among other things, that statewide mask mandates be implemented.

The Emergency Order and the FAQs issued with the Emergency Order do not provide specific requirements or guidance for construction sites. However, the Emergency Order clearly requires that masks be worn indoors (other than at a private residence) when other people are present. This requirement applies even if social distancing is maintained, which likely impacts the interior work on most vertical commercial construction projects.

Masks are not required outside, which appears to relieve construction occurring outside from the mask mandate. Nonetheless, if social distancing while working outside is not possible, construction workers should consider wearing a mask even if not required under the Emergency Order or the current FAQs. 
The Emergency Order also allows local governments to issue more restrictive mask mandates. Therefore, additional requirements may apply if construction occurs in an area with a local mask mandate.

As additional guidance is issued for the construction industry, we will keep you informed.

Building Wisconsin Together ®

Wisconsin Operating Engineers and DWD Pilot Youth Apprenticeship in Fall 2020

A missing link to the Operating Engineers' workforce outreach has been a formal Youth Apprenticeship program.  The Operating Engineers submitted a draft program to DWD for review that was immediatly accepting and set to pilot for Fall 2020.  

What is Youth Apprenticeship?  
Youth Apprenticeship is the connection between school and work-based learning.  The requirement is 180 of technical related instruction and 450 hours of mentored on-the-job paid training.  The pre-apprenticeship course work of Destinations Career Academy is an example of technical related instruction that the student completes through high school.  

How can you assist?


Sponsor a student:  We are seeking 6-10 employers willing to sponsor Youth Apprentices during the 2020-2021 school year.  While not a requirement that the student be enrolled in the Destinations Career Academy pre-apprenticeship program, we would like to find matches for those students already engaged in our parthway.  Students already registered for the Fall 2020 courses are from the following school districts:

Black River Falls
East Troy
Howards Grove
Johnson Creek
Medford Area

Serve as Subject Matter Expert for YA Construction review in January 2021:  
DWD is in the process of reviewing the rigor and relevance of all youth apprenticeship programs.  Construction pathway review will begin in January and we are seeking SME's to participate in this review.  

To learn more about the Operating Engineers Youth Apprenticeship Pilot, please contact Laura Cataldo at 608-616-2835 or via email: 
Industry News and Updates
From the News Stand
Wisconsin Department of Transportation seeks input on 30-year transportation master plan.

This week the agency introduced an online survey to gather comments about the future of transportation in the state. It plans to continue gathering recommendations through 2021. The resulting plan, the Connect 2050 master plan, will guide WisDOT's decision-making on changes to Wisconsin's transportation system over the next three decades.

The survey is seeking comments on a number of matters, including project costs, connections and economic vitality. It can be found at

"Transportation impacts nearly every aspect of your life," WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said in a statement. "The time it takes you to travel to work, school or vacation, the cost of the products you buy, and your ability to get around without driving, all depend on a safe, effective transportation system. These factors affect your quality of life and we want you to be involved in planning Wisconsin's transportation future."
Court Rules LRIP Budget Veto Unconstitutional
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that Gov. Evers' budget veto changing the purpose and funding level for a local aid program was unconstitutional.  The court upheld another transportation veto that created a graduated registration fee schedule for light trucks.
As passed by the Legislature, the current state budget allocated $90 million from the General Fund for the discretionary portion of the Local Road Improvement Program.  The Governor's vetoes created a $75 million "local supplement" program.  After receiving more than 1,600 applications last fall, it was announced on March 4 that 152 communities had received grants under the "Multimodal Local Supplement" program.
While the justices offered differing opinions, a majority agreed that the Governor used his veto power to create a completely different program that was not consistent with the Legislature's intent through the budget process.
Today's ruling was the second time this week the Supreme Court dealt the Governor a setback.  On Thursday, it ruled that most of the laws passed in December 2018 by the Legislature in a lame duck session curtailing the power of the Governor and Attorney General were constitutional.
 Supreme Court ruling on lame duck laws.

Governor Tony Evers orders $250M in spending reductions

Gov. Tony Evers this week o rdered state agencies to identify an additional $250 million in spending reductions for the fiscal year that began July 1 as the state struggles with lower revenue collections due to COVID-19-related shutdowns. Agencies absorbed $70 million in the last fiscal year. To date, the cuts have impacted agencies that rely on general purpose revenue, comprised primarily of income and sales tax revenue. Transportation spending is supported by the Transportation Fund, which consists largely of fuel taxes and vehicle registration and title fees.

Weekly State VMT Returns to Pre-COVID Levels

In a hopeful sign for Wisconsin's economy -- and transportation revenues -- average weekly traffic volumes throughout the state have rebounded over the last two weeks and are now at the levels they were in early March, before COVID-19 restrictions went into effect. With passenger vehicle travel down only slightly, higher commercial truck volumes are helping the rebound:

Gov. Evers Revives I-94 East-West Corridor Project

Gov. Tony Evers announced that the administration will resume work on the I-94 East-West Corridor project in Milwaukee. The project to rebuild the section of I-94 between the Marquette and Zoo interchanges has been on hold since 2017 when the previous administration requested the federal Record of Decision be rescinded, despite its previous commitment to move forward.

The Governor's decision clears the way for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to re-evaluate the alternatives examined to reach the original Record of Decision (ROD) in 2016. That preferred alternative would have reconstructed I-94 from 16th to 70th streets with an additional lane in each direction (from 3 to 4 lanes) while narrowing lanes and shoulders just west of Miller Park to avoid disrupting an adjacent veterans cemetery. The cost to re-evaluate alternatives and restore the ROD is estimated at $20 million. The process is expected to take 12-18 months, aligning it with the 2023-25 state budget.

After modernizing the Marquette and Zoo interchanges over the last 15 years, this week's decision to move forward on replacing the worn-out freeway section between them is an important step forward in addressing the safety and congestion problems that exist along the corridor.

Reminder on COVID-19 Job Site Best Practices

As cases of coronavirus increase in certain areas of the state, just a reminder that Construction Business Group worked with other construction industry organizations to develop suggestions on best practices to prevent the spread at field offices and other company locations.

COVID-19 Industry Response Plan

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