May 12, 2023
By Lane Kimble
MADISON — The men and women specifically tasked with transportation-related bills took a deep dive into understanding our industry this week.
During a nearly three-hour informational hearing, the Assembly Committee on Transportation listened to WisDOT’s secretary and top administrators.
They offered Department and funding overviews, explained the project letting process, and introduced some of the thoughts and challenges regarding electric vehicles.
“A lot of our economy is based on agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, and those are three of the most transportation dependent industries that you can have out there,” Sec. Craig Thompson said during his opening remarks.
“I think an interconnected, well maintained transportation system is really vitally important to the economic well being of our state as well as the crucial safety of all the citizens here.”
Committee members also asked questions about increases to registration fees and if they unfairly impact elderly drivers on a fixed income, replacement options for the gas tax with more EVs on the roads, and if there were more opportunities for design-build projects in the future.
There are currently two D-B pilot projects under way and three left to fulfill.
“We see this across the nation… other states are using (design-build) and having success,” Division of Transportation System Development Administrator Rebecca Burkel said. “Where there’s opportunities for efficiency and innovation, we would want to use the right tool on the right project.”