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Section of I-39/90 to be done early
Project running from Janesville to Edgerton slated to end in 2020
Road Work Zone

MILTON — Gov. Scott Walker announced Sept. 25 that the state Department of Transportation will finish a section of interstate north of Janesville ahead of schedule because of efficiencies within the department. 

The project was initially slated to be completed in 2021, but Walker said in a release that it is now scheduled to conclude in fall of 2020. The 12-mile section of roadway is on Interstate 39/90 north of Janesville and runs to Edgerton. 

In the release, the governor’s office also specified that approximately $70 million will be applied to expand other areas of Interstate 39/90 and the U.S. 12/18 Beltline Interchange. 

Walker announced this news in Milton alongside state and federal transportation officials during a press conference along the highway Sept. 25. 

“Obviously the I-39/90 corridor is important for transportation,” Walker said. “This is an incredible project, it’s one that people have talked about for years. … This is an important entryway into the state of Wisconsin.”

Walker also rebutted questions about his former Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb, who has criticized the governor’s transportation policies in recently weeks. Gottlieb, a Republican who served as the secretary of the transportation department from 2011 to 2017, told the Wisconsin State Journal the same day that Walker is “fear-mongering” by citing possible plans by his political opponent, Democrat Tony Evers, to increase the state gas tax. 

During the news conference, Walker said Evers noted “everything is on the table” when asked about the possibility of a gas tax, but said Evers has refused to provide a number.

“I think any Madison bureaucrat that’s telling you, ‘Wait, and trust me until after the election;’ I wouldn’t trust that,” Walker said. “I would be very worried about holding tight to my purse or my wallet because that means there’s going to be a massive tax increase. Not just on the gas tax, but on property taxes and income taxes on people like farmers and manufacturers and others.”

He added that he would never raise the gas tax unless other facets of the tax burden on state residents are decreased.

At a more local level, the cost of crumbling infrastructure has fallen to county and municipal governments through methods like the growing trend of a wheel tax. In April, Green County passed a measure to charge a $20 tax to its residents, which is collected in addition to the fee for the annual registration of a vehicle. It officially took effect Aug. 1. 

According to the WisDOT website, 19 municipalities and seven other state counties have implemented similar fees in the form of a wheel tax ranging from $10 to $30.

Walker said the state DOT has generated $246 million worth of savings, which enabled the advancement of the years-long project. 

In addition to the new timeline announced today, according to the release, WisDOT plans to reconstruct and expand Interstate 39/90 from four to six lanes between Beloit and Madison, replace more than 100 bridges, reconfigure 11 interchanges to improve safety and traffic flow and expand Wisconsin 11, Avalon Road, to the Wis. 26 interchange in Janesville from four to eight lanes.