TDA Wisconsin
Issue 0414

Representative Petri
Guest Perspective
State Funding
WisDOT Meetings
News Coverage
Association Notes
Transportation Forum
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Petri Will Not Seek Reelection
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On April 14th at a town meeting in Neenah, U.S. Representative Tom Petri formally announced he would not seek reelection to Congress in the upcoming election.

Below is his statement: 

“I am here to formally announce that I will not seek to represent the 6th District in Congress for another term. This is a decision I reached after serious thought and consideration with my family and others.

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to my fellow citizens for entrusting me with the responsibility of representing them for the last 35 years. It has been a great honor.

Best wishes to whoever is elected to represent us in the next Congress. He or she will have the opportunity to turn the great prospects before our country into concrete reality.

I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the 6th District for the remainder of this year.”  

First elected in 1979, Representative Petri has been a key player in transportation and education issues for 35 years. As the Chairman or Ranking Member of the House subcommittee covering highways and transit issues for sixteen years, he has been responsible for writing and passing three of the last four major surface transportation laws.

He fought to improve Wisconsin’s rate of return on the federal gas tax, bringing home more than $1 billion in additional revenue. Prior to 1991, Wisconsin received an average of 75 cents in highway funds for every one dollar in gas taxes sent to Washington. Wisconsin now receives over one dollar.

From 2007 through 2012, Representative Petri served as the Ranking Member or Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, where he successfully worked to pass the FAA Modernization Act of 2012.

Representative Petri has also been a strong supporter of TDA and TDA’s Fly-in, participating in all 24 annual events. The picture above is Representative Petri addressing participants at the 1994 TDA Fly-in.

TDA thanks Representative Petri for his support and all that he has done for transportation in Wisconsin. 

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Guest Perspective
Letter from Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca


As the Democratic Leader of the State Assembly and as a state representative, my top priority has been and will continue to be helping create jobs for Wisconsin families. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to invest in our state’s infrastructure.

Democrats understand that we need a stable and reliable funding source for road construction and that transportation jobs are real, family-supporting jobs. That’s why we have supported – and need to continue to find – creative, vibrant revenue sources for road funding and also have supported additional bonding for major projects like the I-90/39 expansion. We know that infrastructure costs money, but it also creates jobs, and we think that’s an investment worth making.

Across the country and around the world, elected leaders recognize the value of making similar investments. One positive that came from President Bush’s time in office was the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which was created in 2004 with strong bipartisan support and has since approved more than $8 billion worldwide to support projects in developing nations. This program allowed foreign nations to select their priorities, one of the most popular being transportation and other infrastructure. To date, more than 3,000 miles of roads are under design and road construction is underway as a result of the MCC. We need to make infrastructure the same kind of priority in America and in Wisconsin.

There is still more to do on infrastructure, particularly as the credit card approach to our state transportation budget is not sustainable. For example, I believe installing toll roads would be a viable option to help meet our state’s infrastructure needs and that’s why I have been outspoken on this issue. There should be a bipartisan effort to redouble our efforts in Washington, D.C. and gain federal approval for toll roads in Wisconsin. And as vehicles become more energy-efficient and electric cars become more common, the gas tax will become a far less reliable source of revenue. We need to keep an open mind and consider all options to ensure that we have sufficient funding for public transit, roads, ports, railroads and airports.

Strong infrastructure is critical to the long-term health of our state. My fellow Democrats and I will continue to support our infrastructure and the jobs it brings and make Wisconsin economically competitive now and in the future.


Peter W. Barca
Assembly Democratic Leader
64th Assembly District 

Note: Republican leadership of the Assembly has also agreed to provide a guest perspective for the TDA newsletter.  It is expected to run this summer.  

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Federal Update

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest projections still show the Highway Trust Fund running short of cash some time later this summer.

While the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund may not go in the red until August, balances below $4 billion will likely lead USDOT to implement cash management strategies in late July. This could include reimbursing states weekly as opposed to daily or reimbursing only a percentage of the amount submitted.

The Mass Transit Account is currently projected to end the fiscal year with $1 billion.

This issue was top of mind for TDA Fly-in participants when they traveled to DC earlier this month. Delegation members generally thought Congress would “fix” this issue with another infusion from the general fund. The delegation was not nearly as optimistic when it came to a long-term funding solution for the surface transportation program. 

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Thanks TDA Fly-in Sponsors
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AAA Wisconsin

American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin


FABCO Equipment, Inc.

HNTB Corporation

International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139

Johnson Timber Corporation

Miller-Bradford & Risberg, Inc.

OMNNI Associates

Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc.

Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association

Wisconsin County Highway Association

Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council

Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association

Wisconsin Urban & Rural Transit Association

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WisDOT Holds Town Hall Meetings
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This spring Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb will travel around the state to host a series of town hall meetings to give the public an opportunity to get information about the state of Wisconsin’s transportation system and share input on how it impacts daily life.

The outreach began in early April and will continue though most of May. The remaining meetings are listed below:

April 30
Northcentral Technical College
1000 W. Campus Drive
Center for Health Sciences Auditorium, Room 1004
Wausau, WI
5-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)

May 7
US 41 Project Office
1940 West Mason Street
Green Bay, WI
5-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)

May 8
UW Alumni and Conference Center
625 Pearl Avenue
Oshkosh, WI
5-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)

May 20
MATC West Allis Campus, Room 117
1200 South 71st Street
West Allis, WI
5-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)

May 21
Gateway Technical College
Madrigrano Auditorium
3520 30th Avenue
Kenosha, WI5-6:30 p.m. (presentation at 5:30 p.m.)

If you are unable to attend a meeting in your area, you may submit comments online.

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Interesting News Coverage, April 22, 2014 – “Don't replace fuel tax with tolls, a new transportation alliance urges”, April 19, 2014 – “Carper pushes for federal gas tax increase”, April 14, 2014 – "Milwaukee to Kenosha I-94 corridor is red hot for industrial development", April 3, 2014 – “Walker signs aviation tax break bill”

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Association Notes Future of Transportation II

Wednesday, June 4
D.J. Bordini Center, Fox Valley Technical College

-- Featuring U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, vice chair of the House Highways Subcommittee--

Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. The program goes from Noon to 1:15 p.m. Congressman Ribble's address will be followed by a panel discussion.

Price: $24 at the door/$18 if paid in advance.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION: click here and write "June 4 Ribble'' on the "purpose of payment" line. 

The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Transportation Development Association and the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association.

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Save these Dates

  • 2014 Governor's Freight Industry Summit: Thursday, August 14th in Appleton

  • TDA Annual Meeting: Wednesday, November 19th

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@TDAWisconsin, Now on Twitter
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Racine buses. Green Bay port. Rail lines in Superior. Waukesha Airport. Roads we all use. WI’s transpo network: heart of our economy.

Follow TDA for the latest in transportation news.

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