March Newsletter
Register Today for TDA's Virtual Fly-in
President Biden will release details about his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan today in a speech in Pittsburgh. This emphasis on infrastructure will provide an excellent opportunity for Wisconsin to make progress on the documented backlog of transportation projects and needs. Please join us for this year’s TDA Fly-in on Friday, April 16, from 10 am to 11:30 am.

The event will center around a panel discussion with representatives from three organizations deeply involved in federal transportation policy and moving an infrastructure package forward in the next several months.

TDA Executive Director Debby Jackson will also moderate a discussion of Wisconsin priorities. We will end the event with a call to action to our delegation.

The TDA Fly-in’s distinguished panel includes:
There is no cost to participate.
Thank You to Our Fly-in Sponsors
Wisconsin News
Federal COVID Relief Funding Advances 42 Highway Projects
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation moves forward the construction start date for 42 projects due to federal COVID relief funding approved in December of 2020. Ten projects advance into 2021, while 32 projects move into 2022.

“Wisconsin, like other states, experienced transportation revenue shortfalls as a result of the pandemic, and this helps put us back on course," said WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson.

In February, WisDOT submitted a plan to the Joint Finance Committee to address the projected $172 million deficit in the transportation fund and allocate additional federal funds. Wisconsin received $209 million more in federal funds than anticipated in the 2019-21 budget because of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and the annual federal redistribution process that reallocates unused money from other states. This federal funding offset pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls (net of miscellaneous revenues and savings) and provided a $25 million increase to both the State Highway Rehabilitation Program and the Local Road Improvement Program.
Wisconsin Makes Progress on Deficient Bridges
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Bridge Report released last week shows Wisconsin has made some progress on bridge conditions. For the third year in a row, the number and percentage of structurally deficient bridges have declined. Of the state’s 14,271 bridges, 979, or 6.9 percent, are classified as structurally deficient, meaning one of the key elements is in poor or worse condition. Wisconsin still ranks in the top half of states regarding the number of structurally deficient bridges (#19), but the state has fallen to the bottom half for the percentage of structurally deficient bridges (#27). The state has identified more than 1,800 bridges in need of repair at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion.
For more news around the state, take a look at TDA's About TIME publication.
TDA caught up with Patrick Tracey, the marketing manager at Appleton International Airport, to find out what has changed at ATW and what is on the horizon since the last update in May of 2020.

Fort Atkinson is putting to good use one-time funds to upgrade the roadways around the city's industrial parks to support existing businesses, accommodate possible expansion, and attract new businesses. As explained by Fort Atkinson City Engineer Andy Selle, “Sound transportation infrastructure is critical to moving the products and employees of these firms.”

Routes along three of Wisconsin’s major waterfronts show off some of the best of what Wisconsin has to offer, according to Acting Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, and have earned Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) designations for their national importance as tourism destinations. The recognized roadways include the Lake Superior and Door County Coastal byways (designated National Scenic Byways) and the Great River Road (named an All-American Road).
Public Comment Sought on TCMC Intercity Passenger Rail Project
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are seeking public input on proposed intercity passenger rail service improvements for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor (TCMC) a vital Midwest economic corridor. Comments are requested by April 9. 

“The importance of intercity connectivity and travel options cannot be overlooked when considering regional transportation,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “The Milwaukee-Chicago Hiawatha as well as the Amtrak Empire Builder in 2019 were operating at or near capacity during peak travel seasons and forecasted demand is growing ... This project leverages the existing rail corridor and passenger rail service to significantly improve the value of this transportation option across the state. This not only serves major Midwestern cities, but many rural communities along the route.”
TDA Outreach
Two TDA Podcasts: Meet TDA's President, and Women in Trucking
In a recent On The Go podcast, TDA Executive Director Debby Jackson chats with Mark O’Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association and TDA's current president. In a wide-ranging discussion, the two talk about managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the short and long-term opportunities facing TDA and transportation, and much more.

In a second podcast, Jackson speaks with Women in Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie. Voie explains how the organization encourages the employment of women in the trucking industry, promotes their accomplishments, and minimizes the obstacles they face. “Whether it’s driving, being a diesel mechanic, being a safety director, or even working in marketing or HR... there is a place here for any woman that wants to work in the industry," says Voie.

Listen to both podcasts here.
Jackson Blog: Life (and Transportation) Beyond the Pandemic
In her latest In Business Madison blog, TDA Executive Director Debby writes about life beyond the pandemic, her catch-up list, and the importance of transportation as Wisconsin recovers.

"As our state races to vaccinate us all, many of our fellow Wisconsinites face a struggle to remake their careers, their businesses, and their daily routines. It is understandable that tackling the next steps to a longer-term transportation funding solution might not seem to be a pressing issue right now. Also, it is possible federal efforts — a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization and other infrastructure investment — will help. However, we cannot wait too long for answers. Over time, the purchasing power of the state’s transportation revenue sources declines, and the vehicles in Wisconsin’s fleet become more fuel efficient and alternatively fueled. If Wisconsin is to rebuild, rebound, and move forward, we must maintain the 2019-21 budget’s progress and build on it."
Association News
Thanks to Our Organizational Sponsors
TDA Events
  • Virtual Fly-In - Friday, April 16
  • 2021 Annual Meeting - Tuesday, November 16