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Home / Government / Two federal awards top $100 million for highways, bike and pedestrian trails

Two federal awards top $100 million for highways, bike and pedestrian trails

Wisconsin will receive more than $100 million worth of federal money for transportation projects big and small around the state through two grants from the Federal Highway Administration.

The largest of the two is a record $90.8 million in federal money recently awarded to Wisconsin — a sum more than twice the $43.9 million that state officials expected to get this year. The record amount follows another record-breaking federal award last year, when Wisconsin received $66.4 million worth of redistribution money. The state has typically gotten about $30 million from the FHWA in recent years.

The federal money could be put toward an array of large building projects around the state. Christian Schneider, a Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesman, said the agency has not yet decided which projects the money will be used for.

“The record federal redistribution received will allow us to complete additional projects ahead of schedule,” Schneider said. “Our intention is to do more state highway rehabilitation projects. This money will allow WisDOT to pull more projects forward.”

WisDOT is now expecting to have $800 million for state highway rehabilitation. The additional federal money could increase that total by 5.4 percent.

Schneider said the state’s budget committee may have to sign off on WisDOT’s plans for the new money. Final figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation will help determine if an additional approval is needed.

Separately, 29 local governments and agencies will receive $15.7 million from the state’s Transportation Alternatives Program, which uses mostly federal money to pay for small-scale infrastructure projects such as bike and pedestrian trails, Gov. Scott Walker announced this week.

These projects are typically receiving 80 percent of their funding from the federal government and 20 percent from local sources. The 29 projects receiving money this year include Garver Path in Madison, which is getting $847,155; a bike and pedestrian trail in Wausau, getting $640,497; and a trail from Watertown to Oconomowoc, receiving $1.1 million.

The largest among the projects is a proposed $2 million replacement of the historic Lake Park Ravine bridge in Milwaukee.

“It’s important that both urban and rural residents have safe options to get to school and work,” Walker said in a statement. “This program enhances public mobility, economic development and the overall quality of life for our citizens.”

About Nate Beck, [email protected]

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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