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Roads near Foxconn site made into highways to access funding

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin has converted local roads near the future Foxconn site into state highways so it can access funding for state road improvements, a new state report shows.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows the move could siphon $134 million from other highway projects around the state. It’s not clear which projects would be affected if money goes toward improving the Racine County roadways.

But Gov. Scott Walker’s spokesman, Tom Evenson, said most of the costs would be offset by savings from other highway projects that are completed ahead of schedule. He said the state has freed up more than $100 million for additional highway projects through cost savings and revenues that were better than anticipated.

Foxconn’s $10 billion, 13,000-employee complex will be built in Mount Pleasant. The Taiwan-based company plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels for commercial and consumer uses, including televisions.

“It’s really concerning that we’re going to be taking $134 million from rehab projects around the state of Wisconsin and we’re going to be paying for local road projects around the Foxconn project,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh. “A memo like this today highlights the absolute absence of transparency, accountability and credibility on this project.”

Fiscal bureau analyst John Wilson-Tepeli said in the memo that “the use of state highway rehabilitation funding to complete this work near the Foxconn site would likely result in the delay of other, previously planned rehabilitation projects on state highways.”

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