Starbucks or McDonald’s apparently won’t be coming to a Wisconsin rest stop near you.
Among a series of state budget corrections the Department of Administration released Wednesday is an item meant to clarify commercial uses of land owned by the Department of Transportation. In a review of the governor’s initial proposals, the state Legislative Fiscal Bureau had said the budget would give WisDOT permission to enter into contracts allowing commercial activities on department property in return for fees or services.
That, the correction states, “was not the governor’s intent.”
Questions about the proposal came up at budget hearings in the past month. WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb then told lawmakers the real goal was to let the state collect money from sponsors who wanted to put their names on rest stops, parking lots or other state property. He said he did not expect the sponsorships to bring in a lot of cash but thought they could still help pay for various transportation projects.
“It’s not going to solve our revenue problem,” Gottlieb said. “But it’s a way to creatively get some more revenue into the system.”
The proposed correction will now go before the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which has just finished a series of hearings on the governor’s budget and will soon begin considering budgetary amendments of its own. My guess is that the recommended change, being a matter of fairly little consequence, stands a fair chance of being adopted.
So even if you can’t start selling hamburgers at a rest stop, you probably will be able to put your name on it.
Dan Shaw is the new author of the Capitolisms blog. Check back often for his views on the news coming out of Madison.