STODDARD, Wis. (WLCX) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill that will direct state funding towards roads serving agricultural needs into law Wednesday.
The bill, 2023 Senate Bill 247, creates funding for roadways that wouldn’t otherwise be selected for state funding.
Many of these roadways serve farms and other agricultural entities, legislators testified last month. State funding currently covers maintenance to more commonly-used roads, such as county and state highways, but not roads serving farms, the Committee on Transportation and Local Government heard in May. The bill establishes the Agricultural Roads Improvement Program.
Specifically, the bill, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 13, addresses roads that are used by more than one ag producer, has weight limitations placed on it each year, and that by using the funds, would no longer have weight limits. The grant program would be run by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation under the Local Roads Improvement Program.
“By improving agricultural roads across our state, we can help ensure our agricultural industries can get product to market, keep food on grocery store shelves and on our tables, and support rural communities and economies,” Evers said.
The bill’s author, state Sen. Howard Marklein, who is also the co-chair of the legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee, said that he is ‘thrilled’ that his bill became law.
“This is a wise investment of the one-time funds in our state surplus,” Marklein said. “Act 13 will make a major difference in our small towns and for farmers throughout the state.”
Dozens of organizations and associations registered in support of the bill. The bill passed committee unanimously with bipartisan support.