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
State and Local Governments Get Infrastructure Funding Boost
We have all read about, and witnessed firsthand, the devastating impact of COVID on businesses across the state and nation. In April 2020, the national unemployment rate reached a 70-year high. While businesses are trying to get back to normal, as of April 2021, there were still 8.2 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic.

It was not only private industry that was affected. State and local governments faced the daunting task of increasing services due to COVID, including testing, contact tracing, expansions to health care systems, increased demand for housing and food assistance, and creating alternative teaching models at public schools. Simultaneously, state and local governments saw a sharp decline in revenue due to the economic downturn. The federal government has made assisting state and local governments a priority in 2021.

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law. Among other things, ARPA established the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“Fiscal Recovery Funds”). The Fiscal Recovery Funds are intended to provide support to state and local governments impacted by COVID. What was initially unclear, however, was whether state and local governments would have flexibility to use Fiscal Recovery Funds for infrastructure projects. 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently issued draft interim final rules that more clearly define use of Fiscal Recovery Funds. The interim rules provide that ARPA gave “broad latitude” to state and local governments to use Fiscal Recovery Funds “for the provision of government services” to the extent that COVID caused revenue loss. More importantly, the interim rules provide that government services “can include, but are not limited to, maintenance or pay-go funded building of infrastructure, including roads….”[1] Water and broadband projects are also specifically mentioned in the interim rules with no limit on use of the funds being tied to revenue loss.[2]

While the interim final rules are still subject to change, it is expected that infrastructure will remain an eligible use of Fiscal Recovery Funds by state and local governments. This is a huge win for the construction industry, which saw $12 billion in public infrastructure projects delayed or cancelled due to lack of revenue caused by COVID.[3]

[1]U.S. Depart. of the Treasury, 31 CFR Part 35, Interim Final Rule, at p. 60, avail. at
[2] Interim Final Rule, at pp. 61-63 & 143-44.
[3] U.S. Treasury Issues Interim Rule on $350 Billion Relief Uses, ARTBA Washington Newsline (May 11, 2021), avail. at
Save the Dates
September 20, 2021
CBG Annual Golf Outing

November 16, 2021
National Insurance Crime Bureau and CBG Joint Conference on Insurance Fraud

February 10-11, 2022
CBG Annual Winter Conference

Building Wisconsin Together®
Youth Apprenticeship Modernization

Thank You for Representing the Industry!
In Fall of 2020, DWD and the Wisconsin Operating Engineers launched a pilot for an Operating Engineers Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program. Youth apprenticeship is a blend of classroom instruction (provided by the online courses through Destinations Career Academy) and 450 hours of paid work experience.

In 2021, DWD began the process modernizing all youth apprenticeship programs to ensure the programs align with industry needs. Even though the Operating Engineer program is new, they are required to complete the review.

Thank you to the following individuals that committed time this spring to meet with DWD and review the Youth Apprentice framework:

  • Brad Diener, Walbec Group
  • Tracey Griffith; Payne & Dolan (Walbec Group)
  • Robert J. Hackel; Buteyn-Peterson Construction Co.
  • Danielle Hertel; River View Construction, Inc.
  • Erin Salm; Miron Construction
  • Dan Sperberg, Local 139 Training Director

If you are interested in learning more about YA or employing a Youth Apprentice for the summer or fall, please contact Laura Cataldo at or 608-616-2835.  
Building Wisconsin Together®
From the News Stand
Interim Rule from U.S. Treasury Dept. on State/Local COVID Relief Funds
The United States Department of Treasury (Treasury) provided guidance on how government entities can spend monies provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Here are some quick takeaways:

  • According to various media reports, Wisconsin is due to receive approximately $2.5 billion dollars.
  • According to our national association, ARTBA, “Use of funds for certain transportation infrastructure is permitted.”

  • Treasury notes that ARPA provides state and local governments “broad latitude to use the Fiscal Recovery Funds for the provision of government services. 
  • Government services can include, but are not limited to, maintenance or pay-go funded building of infrastructure, including roads…”  
  • Other permitted uses of funds include water and sewer infrastructure, broadband investment, essential worker pay, and aid to small businesses.

  • Funds cannot be used for “interest or principal on any outstanding debt.”

  • State and local governments “may use payments from Fiscal Recovery Funds for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

  • These government entities are to quantify their losses “by comparing actual revenue to a counterfactual trend representing what could have been expected to occur in the absence of the pandemic.”
  • States and localities also have the option of comparing their actual revenue numbers to a hypothetical “growth adjustment” of 4.1 percent per year. In part, this enables governments that have not experienced substantial pandemic-related revenue loss to still receive a share of funds.
  • This is an “interim final rule,” meaning it will be subject to a 60-day public comment period. 

  • Treasury notes that it expects most such comments to be requests and suggestions from government entities for clarifications to this initial document.
It is not yet known what this means for Wisconsin’s budget, or the impact it will have on transportation funding in the budget. It is important to remember that Governor Evers has sole discretion to expend the entirety of the $2.5 billion dollars, without legislative approval. So far, Governor Evers has not publicly indicated how he specifically plans to use the funds. 
State Republicans Introduce Bill to Eliminate $300 Federal Unemployment Benefits in Wisconsin
Republican lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a bill that would end a $300 per week federal unemployment boost in Wisconsin, which several business groups say is creating a disincentive to work and exacerbates ongoing workforce shortage challenges.

The bill, which Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said could be in committee next week and taken up by the Legislature as early as June, would end Wisconsin’s participation in four federal programs aimed at assisting individuals who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters of those provisions say they provide much-needed assistance to those who are unable to find work or are reluctant to return to the workforce amid the ongoing pandemic.

Dane County, Milwaukee to End Mask
Mandates in June
Dane County was one of the first in Wisconsin to issue a mask mandate in response to COVID-19 but is now joining many other communities in dropping pandemic-related restrictions.

On Tuesday, health officials from the county and city of Madison announced they will lift health orders requiring masks, limiting the size of gatherings and reducing capacity at establishments starting June 2. Officials pointed to Dane County’s high vaccination rates and low number of new COVID-19 cases.

"Today I applaud the 63% of Dane County residents who have gotten vaccinated. This extremely high number allows us to make the decision today to lift our orders on June 2, when we estimate that 75% of those eligible for vaccine will have received their first dose," said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County in a statement.
Businesses Question Whether They Should Ask Employees' Vaccination Status
MADISON, Wis. — After June 2 in Dane County, it will be up to business owners to set their own mask policies. If an employee comes into work without a mask on, it’ll be up to their boss to either trust that they’ve been vaccinated or ask for proof.

“There are some businesses that don’t want to ask their employees. They don’t want to put them in that position by asking that type of information,” said employment attorney Steve DiTullio.

DiTullio said he’s been getting a lot of questions from businesses about what to do next. But with the CDC’s recent guidance saying vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask in most places, employers are forced to decide how to set new policies for both customers and employees.

Even without a mandate from the county or state, businesses can set their own mask requirements.

Many businesses will end up with some employees being masked and some being unmasked.

“Doesn’t that sort of underscore everything that we’re seeing in society right now? With people butting heads over to vaccine or not to vaccine, to mask up or not to mask up,” said DiTullio.

He said the least controversial policy is probably to keep everyone in masks, so there aren’t two separate masked and unmasked groups.

Wisconsin Small Businesses Can Now Apply
for Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grants
Earlier today, Governor Evers announced the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is now accepting applications for Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grants from Wisconsin-based small businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This $420 million program is funded with money received from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Approximately 84,000 Wisconsin small businesses will receive Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recover Grants of $5,000. Outlined below is a summary of the program. 

Governor Allocates $100 Million in Federal Funds for Rural Broadband Expansion
Last Tuesday, Governor Evers announced the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) will launch a new round of state broadband expansion grants with $100 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The PSC will make applications available, including information on project eligibility guidelines, for this first round of federal broadband funding on June 1, with applications due on July 27, 2021.
Additional state and federal funding for rural broadband expansion and deployment is a WIB public policy priority for the 2021-2022 legislative session. We commend the Governor for using these one-time federal funds to help boost the availability of broadband service throughout rural Wisconsin
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