November Newsletter
TDA Annual Meeting a Huge Success
TDA's first virtual meeting went off without a hitch. The virtual meeting was coordinated from two locations and included 7 speakers, 2 pre-produced segments, real-time polling questions, and approximately 130 participants.

Thank you to the speakers, sponsors, and participants!

If you missed this great event or are looking for a meeting presentation, click the button below.
WisDOT Submits Budget Request
On November 9, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation submitted the remaining portion of the department’s 2021-23 budget request. The department’s first submittal in September only included the divisions of State Patrol and Motor Vehicles due to uncertainty about state and federal revenue during the pandemic.

While revenue is still far from certain, the department has put together a budget “based on the best information we have at this time.”

Revenue & Bonding
WisDOT projects segregated revenues – primarily gas taxes and registration/titling fees – to be approximately $260 million below base levels. The WisDOT budget proposal offsets this shortfall during the next two years with a slight increase over base federal funding, lower scheduled expenditures on Southeast Freeway Megaprojects, cost savings, and bonding.

The 2019-21 budget had the lowest bonding level in 20 years at $326 million. The WisDOT 2021-23 budget proposes a little more than $400 million in new bonding authority.

Program Funding
The WisDOT budget request maintains program funding at FY 2021 levels with a few exceptions.

Items of note:
  • State Highway Rehabilitation Program – $19 million increase over FY 2021 base funding to maintain program purchasing power and avoid significant decline of pavement conditions on the state highway system.
  • Southeast Wisconsin Freeway Megaprojects – The department requests enumeration of the I-94 East-West project and $112 million to remain on schedule to complete the project by FY 2029.
  • Harbor Assistance Program – $15.3 million in transportation fund-supported general obligation (GO) bonds.
  • Freight Railroad Preservation Program – $20 million in transportation fund-supported GO bonds.

Agency requests are an early step in a long budget process. The Governor will introduce his budget in February.
Transportation Project Commission Scheduled to Meet 
At the November 12 TDA Annual Meeting, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson informed participants the Transportation Projects Commission (TPC) will meet on Tuesday, December 8. Included on the agenda will be the I-39/90/94 bridge over the Wisconsin River (Columbia County), US 51 - Stoughton to McFarland (Dane County), and the restart of a previously approved study of I-39/90, Madison to Wisconsin Dells (Columbia and Dane counties).
Help Make the Case for Transportation
The Governor has announced several virtual budget listening sessions. The session on the Environment, Infrastructure, and the economy will be Wednesday, December 2, at 6 p.m. Registration opens a week before the session date. If you are planning to attend and would like talking points, please contact the TDA office.

However, you do not need to attend the listening session to have an impact. Send an email to the Governor with just one click. Tell Governor Evers: Transportation is ESSENTIAL Every Day!
Status of the States
Voters Approve 94% of Transportation Investment Ballot Measures
Voters in 18 states November 3 approved 94 percent of state and local ballot initiatives that will provide an additional $14 billion in one-time and recurring revenue for transportation improvements.

The approval rate (303 out of 322 finalized) was the highest level in the 20 years the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has been tracking such initiatives. Read More
Other Transportation News
FCC Releases Ruling on 5.9 GHz Band Usage
On November 18, the FCC adopted new rules that divided the 5.9 GHz between unlicensed uses such as Wi-Fi and automotive safety.

Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) said in a released statement that the leaders of all 50 state departments of transportation, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, were disappointed the FCC had abandoned the 5.9 GHz safety band.
TDA Outreach
You Know it's Coming...Counties Brace for Winter Snow Removal Efforts
With winter right around the corner, Eau Claire County Highway Commissioner Jon Johnson is the featured guest on the latest episode of the On the Go podcast. Johnson explains the logistics of snow removal and winter road maintenance and the challenges of managing through Wisconsin’s unpredictable winters and now a pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter what time, they know when the weather is coming, and they set aside their personal life - their spouses, their significant others,” said Johnson of the dedicated people who keep our roads cleared. “It’s the role they play, and it’s absolutely critical."
Johnson urges drivers to assist winter maintenance crews by giving them room to do their job, slowing down, and paying attention to the road. 

Listen to this podcast here.
Association News
Mark O'Connell TDA's 2020-2021 President
Mark O'Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA), was elected the Transportation Development Association’s 44th president at TDA's Annual Meeting earlier this month. He will serve a one-year term.

O’Connell has served county government since 1989. Before WCA, he served the State of Wisconsin in the Department of Administration State Budget Office, Department of Natural Resources, and Legislative Audit Bureau.

He joined the TDA Board in 2014.

Other members of the 2020-21 TDA Executive Committee include:
  • 1st Vice President: Chris Klein, American Council of Engineering Companies
  • 2nd Vice President: Tracy Johnson, Commercial Association of REALTORS Wisconsin
  • Secretary: Jason Culotta, Midwest Food Processors Association
  • Treasurer: Tim Peterson, James Peterson Sons, Inc.
  • Immediate Past President: Summer Strand, Walbec Group

Thanks to all for their service.