April 11, 2023
By Lane Kimble
MADISON, Wis. — For his first-ever trip inside the state Capitol building, WTBA President JR Ramthun wasn’t there to sight-see. He was on a mission. Ramthun led one of several WTBA teams into sit down meetings with four state lawmakers Tuesday morning.
The meetings directly connected WTBA members with several members of the state’s budget writing committee, who are in the process of crafting the two-year spending plan.
“Face time’s very important,” Ramthun said shortly after meeting with state Representative Alex Dallman. “It was a great opportunity to get in front of them and voice our concern about getting long term funding into the Transportation Fund.”
Dallman (R-Green Lake) and staff from state Senator Joan Ballweg’s office listened as Ramthun, Josh Wade, and Travis Wise shared their personal stories about industry challenges and ways lawmakers can help.
“The more we can get your members into our offices or on our phones, into our emails, in-person for tours out in our districts, the better we are to get educated [and] the more we can realize how much it’s impacting the people around us,” Dallman said.
The day at the Capitol also allowed Board members to encourage the support for legislation that could be introduced soon.
WTBA has worked hard to build a coalition behind “Compensable Delay Reform,” which simplifies the process when there are utility delays. The bill calls for WisDOT to pay the contractor directly, getting members out of the bill collecting business while defining an appeals process to resolve any disputes fairly and efficiently.
“We have our priorities, but (lawmakers) get hit by a million different people wanting the same thing,” new Board member Brian Endres said after meeting with Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma). “If we can bring them solutions that help them serve multiple areas of their constituency, I think it’s very helpful.
WTBA also met with state Senator Cory Tomczyk, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and Local Government.