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Walker Says He’d Consider Less Borrowing To Ease Road Budget Stalemate

After Holiday Break, Governor Says Work Restarts Wednesday

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Gov. Scott Walker celebrated the Fourth of July Tuesday, riding in a parade in Wauwatosa, but he says he’ll be back at the state Capitol Wednesday morning, meeting with lawmakers on the stalled 2017-2019 biennial state budget.

The governor and fellow Republicans who control the state Senate and Assembly remain especially divided on road funding.

Walker says he’s willing to get closer to the Assembly’s goal to have little or no additional borrowing for road projects, without a long-term fix for past borrowing debt.

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“We have the lowest level of bonding since before 9/11,” Walker told reporters. “If the speaker and others in the Assembly want less bonding, I’m certainly willing to work with them.”

He said he’s lowered his borrowing package to less than $300 million.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told WPR this week that it’s up to the Senate to come up with a transportation plan that can pass both chambers. The governor said he hopes to have a budget deal by the end of July.

Democratic state Rep. Fred Kessler was also riding in the parade. He said he’s troubled by the lack of a budget deal.

“I would think that when the Republicans control the governorship, control both houses of the Legislature, and they can’t govern, that’s a serious problem,” Kessler said.

The GOP should raise the gas tax or drivers license fees to fix Wisconsin roads, he said.

Kessler also said Republicans need to use the budget to increase state school aid to urban and rural areas, because teachers in those areas often leave for better-paying jobs in suburban school districts.