Wisconsin officials have selected 40 local road improvement projects to fund with $35 million via the $2.25-billion, federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), though industry leaders say more money is needed for the state’s transportation system.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) and the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation announced the list of awarded projects June 7. The money is focused specifically on projects in areas with fewer than 50,000 people. In a statement, Evers said it “will provide much-needed support for communities across Wisconsin to ensure we have a safe, reliable transportation system for years to come.”

Officials plan to contract for the projects this fall for spring construction. The list of selected projects is available online here. 

The state transportation system’s needs have exceeded its available resources for decades, says Steve Baas, executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association. But even with the additional funding, the impact of money for the state’s transportation program will be blunted by inflation that is eroding transportation funds’ buying power, he adds.

“While the governor’s deployment of [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] dollars provides some relief for that gap and allows some additional investment in much-needed local projects, there is still a long way to go before our transportation fund is sufficiently capitalized to meet the needs of both our major economic corridors and our local roads,” Baas said.

WisDOT officials did not immediately respond to ENR inquiries about the potential impacts of inflation on the projects.

The state received 306 applications for funding, officials said. Applicants whose projects were not among the 40 selected will be able to reapply in future years, as this money was from the first of five years of extra funding through the infrastructure spending act.

State officials said they will also announce $25 million more for projects in areas with larger populations at a later date.