Gov. Walker request for more federal highway funding could be in - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker request for more federal highway funding could be in jeopardy due to application deadline

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker's plan to ask the federal government for more highway money could be in jeopardy due to the very state transportation budget impasse he's trying to end by making the request.

A memo put together by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and released by Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) Thursday, states Governor Walker wants to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation for up to $341 million in federal highway redistribution money.

That amount of money represents ten times the amount of federal highway redistribution dollars Wisconsin gets in a normal year.

But in a letter sent to legislators Thursday, Gov. Walker stated Wisconsin is in a good position to receive additional federal funding to support more projects.

"Interstate 94 North/South, the Zoo Interchange and Interstate 94 East/West are high profile projects in southeastern Wisconsin. We propose contingency bonding that would be linked to additional federal funding for mega projects. Wisconsin is well positioned to qualify for additional federal funding to help support mega projects," wrote Gov. Walker.

There could be one major obstacle to the Governor's plans however - timing.

"In order to be eligible for receipt of these funds in 2017, states must submit a list of projects by July 19 that shows the state's ability to obligate any funds received by the end of the fiscal year (September 30)," writes LFB Program Supervisor Al Runde.

That means the state would have to show they will be ready to put those funds to use once they are distributed.

With Senate and Assembly Republicans still far apart on a transportation budget framework, it could give federal officials pause to award any extra dollars to Wisconsin.

"Delayed passage of a budget bill could have an impact on DOT's ability to provide state matching funds to support the application," writes Runde.

"And I should mention it's a larger distribution of funds. These are funds that states have not spent - federal funds - which are then swept up by the USDOT and then redistributed to the states," said Jason Culotta, senior director of governmental relations at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

WMC is advising the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to go after those funds, but Culotta said a WISDOT official expressed concern to him that the lack of a state budget makes the prospects of getting that money far less likely.

Neither Gov. Walker's office nor WISDOT officials returned messages from 27 News on this story Friday.

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