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WCA; Transportation Groups Endorse Positions Before JFC April 30th
- Posted on April 29, 2013
A memo from the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, WCA, the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139; Wisconsin State Council of Carpenters, Wisconsin Laborers District Council and the Wisconsin County Highway Association was sent today to the members on the Joint Committee on Finance endorsing certain positions on issues coming before an executive session of the committee on Tuesday, April 30th.
Read the full memo, "Tranhere.
Paper 635: Transportation Fund Condition Statement
The estimated opening balance at the time of introduction was $88 million, an amount that is now estimated to be $21.5 million higher, at $109.5 million. This is primarily due to higher than anticipated debt service savings and vehicle registration revenues, and lower than anticipated net appropriations and reserves.
The 2013-15 biennium-ending balance in the Transportation Fund is now estimated at -$63.5 million, which is $76.1 million lower than the assumed fund balance at the time of introduction. This is primarily due to lower than expected collections for motor fuel taxes in the base year through December, 2012 and lower than estimated fuel consumption for the remainder of the fiscal year, and lower forecasted revenue through 2014-15.
The organizations support the following modifications to the Governor's budget proposal to address the projected deficit:
Delay portions of I-94 North/South & Zoo Interchange to '15-'17 biennium $33 Million
(no impact on Zoo completion in 2018 assuming funds restored in '15-'17)
Reduce State Highway Rehabilitation Program in FY 2014 $12.3 Million
Reduce Major Highway Program in FY 2014 $7.3 Million
Reduce General Transportation Aids by 1% in CY 2014 $4.3 Million
Reduce contract costs for Amtrak Hiawatha service $1.1 Million
Reduce Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grants in FY 2015 $900,000
Reduce State Highway Maintenance agreements by 1% $2.5 Million
Delay State Patrol inspection positions to FY 2015 $2.0 Million
Total: $63.4 Million
Paper 645: Freight Rail Preservation Program Bonding
Support the Governor's request for $60 million in Transportation Fund-supported G.O. bonding authorization for freight rail preservation and acquisition.
This program is critical to providing shipping options for Wisconsin businesses. The recent application process indicates demand of more than $110 million in 2014 alone.
Paper 646: Harbor Assistance Program Bonding
Support the Governor's request for $10.7 million in Transportation Fund-supported G.O. bonding authorization for harbor improvement project grants.
Recent submittals of three-year plans by the state's commercial ports indicate demand far exceeds available funding even at the Governor's recommended funding levels.
Paper 647: Create Transportation Alternatives Program
Support Alternative A1, the Governor's recommended funding level. Support B2 a, b and c to make sure state eligibility requirements match federal law, to ensure previous grant recipients retain eligibility under the new program and to create a reasonable deadline for using grant awards.
Paper 648: Passenger Rail Service
Support Alternative 2, which would reduce funding for Amtrak Hiawatha service by $1.1 million to match expected contract costs and is consistent with the plan to address the current fund deficit.
Paper 665: State Patrol Recruit Class
Support the Governor's recommendation to provide $1.4 million annually for the Division of State Patrol to hold annual recruit training classes for new troopers and inspectors.
This is necessary for the State Patrol to fill trooper and inspector vacancies. High vacancies impact DSP's ability to patrol highways and respond to incidents effectively, as well as making it more difficult to manage overtime.
Paper 666: Commercial Motor Carrier Inspector Positions & Intrastate Motor Carrier Regulation
Consistent with the deficit reduction plan outlined under Paper 635 (Fund Condition Statement), support a motion that would delay hiring of these positions until FY 2015, providing a net savings of approximately $2 million.
Paper 667: Chemical Test Section
Support Alternatives 2 a, b & c, which would delete the Transportation Fund appropriation, increase the driver improvement surcharge by $70 and modify the allocation of this program revenue to 50.3% local/49.7% state (currently 60% local/40% state) to generate the revenues needed to maintain these programs.
While these are worthwhile programs to discourage drunken driving, the Transportation Fund is not in a position to assume responsibility for these costs and this alternative ensures that OWI offenders will continue to fund these programs.
Thank you for your consideration.