Interstate 39/90

A project to expand U.S. Interstate 39-90 south of Madison, shown, should stay on schedule for the next two years under a transportation funding plan adopted by the Legislature's budget-writing committee Tuesday night.

CAPITAL TIMES ARCHIVES

Dane County’s two big ongoing highway projects look to have emerged unscathed from cuts in a funding plan embraced by the Legislature’s budget committee Tuesday.

Projects to rebuild and expand parts of Verona Road and the Madison Beltline, and a stretch of U.S. Interstate 39-90 south of Madison, are among those slated to stay on schedule for the next two years under the plan adopted by the Joint Finance Committee, Gov. Scott Walker’s office confirmed Wednesday.

Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, said both projects are vital to the economic welfare of the whole state.

“We’re certainly thankful for the Joint Finance approval and what looks to be the continued funding of two vital projects, not just for this region, but for the state and beyond,” Brandon said.

Other parts of the state transportation budget did not escape the funding crunch. A project to expand State Highway 15 in Outagamie County missed out on $58 million in funding in the plan, according to Walker’s office.

And the state highway rehabilitation program, which pays for road resurfacing projects and accounts for the single biggest share of the state highway program, was cut by $79 million.

The plan adopted Tuesday provides a funding blueprint for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation through June 2019. After passing the finance committee, it heads next to the full Assembly and Senate.

The $1.2 billion I-39-90 project is rebuilding and expanding 45 miles of the interstate from near the Madison Beltline to the Illinois state line, while reconfiguring 11 interchanges along that stretch of the interstate. It’s set to be completed in 2022.

Walker has touted that project as vital for Wisconsin tourism, as I-39-90 is a key thoroughfare for motorists entering the state from Illinois.

The $283 million Verona Road project is aimed at easing traffic flow on the main thoroughfare from Madison to the booming part of Dane County that includes Verona and Epic Systems.

In its first phase, the project expanded and rebuilt a stretch of the Madison Beltline from Seminole Highway to Whitney Way, and Verona Road immediately southwest of the Beltline. The second phase is doing the same for Verona Road from Raymond Road to just south of McKee Road-Highway PD, while replacing the intersection of those roads with a highway interchange. It’s on track for completion in 2020.

“We’re certainly thankful for the Joint Finance approval and what looks to be the continued funding of two vital projects, not just for this region, but for the state and beyond.” Zach Brandon, president, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
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Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.