Evers helps ‘fix the darn roads’ in Rhinelander
Gov. Tony Evers joined members of the Rhinelander street crew today to help repair potholes and bring attention to his efforts to increase state funding for roads. Star Journal photo.
By Eileen Persike
RHINELANDER – Gov. Tony Evers put on his work clothes and reflective vest and hit the streets in Rhinelander Tuesday to – as he said in a recent radio address – “help fix the darn roads.”
It was one of the stops on his “Pothole Patrol” tour to help city workers repair potholes and draw attention to the Evers Administration’s investments to improve local roads and highways. Since 2019 Evers said his administration has approved more than 5,900 miles of roads and nearly 1,600 bridges across the state.
“We all get excited about superhighways and freeways, but at the end of the day, this is something that happens every single day in every municipality,” Evers said. “So we want to, first of all, say thank you to the workers who do this work, and second of all, it’s a reminder that infrastructure isn’t all about huge projects – it’s about the small projects, too.”
Evers was joined by Craig Thompson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, as they worked with the Rhinelander street crew on Messer Street by Hodag Park.
Evers said he is “looking forward to a good effort from the legislature to make sure municipalities get what they need to do this work.”
His budget proposal includes an ask for $100 million in transportation aids, which would be the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Evers said $100 million across the state “isn’t a big number,” but he said, the administration is also working to “make sure we get a good shared revenue bill through the legislature.”
Shared revenue is aid for municipalities, based on a percentage of the taxes collected by the state. Legislative leaders and Evers had been negotiating a bill to increase shared revenues. After saying he was done negotiating, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos released a proposal that didn’t include Evers’ input and the Assembly passed it 56-36. Still, Evers said he is optimistic a compromise can be reached.
“We’re hoping to meet with Senate and Assembly leadership sometime this week to see where they’re at, but clearly it got more complex as more things were layered onto it,” Evers said. “At the end of the day, I think we’ll have a good bill, but it’s just a matter of time and getting the Senate and the Assembly working together.”
The Governor introduced his 2023-25 biennial budget in April. The state’s fiscal year ends June 30, 2023, which is the statutory deadline for the next budget to be signed.