Wisconsin farmer-legislator explains support for ag roads bill

A Wisconsin farmer who serves in the State Assembly says the Agricultural Roads Improvement Program bill under consideration is a good start to fixing rural infrastructure.

Republican Travis Tranel of Cuba City says, “Here, we find ourselves with some one-time money. I can’t think of a better use for it because the need is so great.”

Tranel says if the state doesn’t start now, it will never be able to upgrade its rural infrastructure. “We acknowledge that we are not going to be able to fix all 62-thousand miles of town road at once, but there are some roads that make a lot of sense to invest in, and the way we decided to go about identifying those roads are roads that have a significant amount of economic activity.”

Tranel testified before a Senate hearing Tuesday in support of Senate Bill 247 and his own Assembly companion bill, saying some local roads and bridges can no longer handle the weight and wear of hauling milk, corn, beans, and forest products.  He gave an example of a town road bridge near his home that was recently closed because of structural failure.

If passed and signed by the Governor, the state would send 150 million dollars of the projected state surplus to local governments to repair or upgrade restricted or damaged roads important to agriculture.

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