State 23 start date restored to 2015

CAPITOL CONNECTION
Joe Leibham  9th Senatorial District

Last week I was pleased to receive word from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) that they have agreed to restore the start date for construction on Highway 23 to 2015.

After the DOT recently announced plans to delay construction of Highway 23 between Plymouth and Fond du Lac until 2018, I set up a meeting with DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb to stress the importance of this project and to demand an earlier start date. I was pleased to be joined by other area legislators at the meeting, because each of us have been working on this effort for years and received countless contacts over the past few weeks from constituents concerned with DOT’s initially proposed delay of the project until 2018.

We made it clear to the DOT that a funding delay of Highway 23 is completely unacceptable. This is an important highway project that has been in planning for a long time and for safety and efficient travel purposes needs to be completed as soon as possible.

I initially worked to enumerate this project in the 1999 state budget and have been working since then to ensure the proper planning and funding for this important project. In recent years, I have become increasingly frustrated with the continuous delays surrounding this project. First, the Doyle Administration raided funds from the Transportation budget that delayed the project and then a federal lawsuit was initiated by an environmental group opposed to road expansions, and recently DOT announced plans to delay the project further.

Because of this history of delays for this project, I do not believe the further delays suggested by DOT are acceptable, and have expressed this to them. In response to these concerns, DOT informed me that construction will now begin in 2015 as previously scheduled. This eliminates the three-year delay in the start of the project that was shown in the recent Transportation Projects Commission (TPC) semiannual report.

The DOT will schedule State Highway 23 for substantial completion in fiscal year 2018. This would be a delay of only one year from the previously scheduled completion time of 2017. Pending availability of funds either from project savings or increased appropriations, the DOT would advance the completion to 2017.

The revised schedule is subject to resolution of the pending federal litigation and receipt of a record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration early in 2014. It also assumes no reduction in funding in the major highway program in the FY16-17 or FY18-19 state budgets.

The four-lane expansion improvements to Highway 23 are important to Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties, as well as the rest of the state. I will continue to ensure the proper planning and completion of this important road expansion project to address both safety and economic concerns.

As always, it has been a pleasure communicating with you.

Please remember to communicate with me and share your input by calling 888-295-8750, writing to me at P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882, or by e-mailing me at

Sen.Leibham@legis.wi.gov. You can also log on to the 9th Senate

District on-line office at www.leibhamsenate.com.

~ Fall Hunting Forecast ~

Secretary Cathy Stepp recently released the fall hunting forecast for 2013. You can download it here: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/ documents/forecast.pdf

This interesting report details all of the season dates, new rules and regulations and offers a forecast and tips for successful hunting this fall. Whether you are searching the sky for Canadian Geese or scouting for Whitetail Deer, the fall hunting forecast is a comprehensive overview for the season.

~ Governor Scott Walker

Announces Search for the 2013

Capitol Christmas Tree ~

Each year, I receive several inquiries about the Capitol Christmas tree, but the offers are often too late for consideration, as the search for this special tree has already begun. Tree donations are based upon the following requirements:

- Balsam Fir approximately 35-45 feet tall.

- Full branches throughout the tree, if possible. Otherwise, a second donated tree may be needed to utilize the branches for filler.

- Tree should be accessible to the necessary logging and loading equipment for removing the tree from the property. In addition, there are often media outlets or groups that like to watch the tree being harvested.

- All of the cutting, loading, and hauling expenses are to be donated.

If you have a tree that you would like to offer for the Capitol Christmas Tree, please contact Lisa Humphrey, Building and Grounds Superintendent at the Wisconsin Department of Administration. She may be reached at 608-261-4355 or lisa.humphrey@wisconsin.gov.

Issue Corner – Senate Bill

(SB) 70 Motorcycle Operator’s

Licenses and Rider Courses

Under current law, applicants for a motor vehicle operator’s license are required to successfully complete a knowledge test and an on-the-road driving skills test. Additionally the Department of Transportation also must waive the driving skills test for a person applying for a motorcycle license if the person has successfully completed a basic rider course approved by DOT.

SB 270 would require DOT to waive the motorcycle driving skills test for an applicant who has successfully completed a basic or more advanced rider course approved by DOT. Applicants would still have to complete the knowledge portion of the test.

Proponents of the bill argue that it would create additional incentive for experienced motorcycle riders who do not currently have a license to get one.

To view an electronic copy of SB 270, please visit this link: https://docs.legis.wisconsin. gov/2013/related/proposals/ sb270. Furthermore, you can track this proposal as it makes its way through the legislature by signing up for the legislative notification service: https://notify.legis.wisconsin. gov/login?ReturnUrl=%2f.


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