Foxconn drives more than $630M in Wisconsin road work
- The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has taken on more than $630 million of infrastructure improvements spurred by construction of the $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group's flat-panel display factory in Mount Pleasant (Racine County), Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Business News reported. Approximately $500 million will go toward widening a portion of Interstate 94 and $134 million to upgrading local roads around the facility.
- State lawmakers approved $252 million for the work on I-94 as an add-on to the $3 billion tax incentive package granted to the Taiwan-based company, but the legislation also requires Wisconsin to apply for federal funds to help pay for the project. The state applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a $246.2 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant last fall and should know sometime in June if they have won the award.
- If the state is successful in obtaining the grant, WisDOT should be able to complete work on I-94 by 2021. If not, the project could stretch until 2032. Racine and surrounding counties are also considering additional projects geared toward easing access to the factory like a commuter bus or rail system and a highway spur.
The infrastructure grants are discretionary and meant to help repair what the USDOT refers to as America's "aging infrastructure," and, according to the USDOT, one of the agency's award guidelines is to give priority to state and local governments that make significant financial investments in qualifying projects. This is in line with the goals of President Donald Trump's infrastructure plan – to see states and local governments take on the majority of funding responsibility for projects that have more of a regional impact than a national one. The White House was front and center during negotiations to bring the Foxconn factory to Wisconsin, so it is difficult to imagine that the I-94 project won't receive some level of financial support from the USDOT.
Major projects like the Foxconn factory often make it necessary for state transportation departments to beef up surrounding infrastructure, particularly if the project is one that will generate a considerable amount of additional traffic. Certainty the thousands of construction workers and employees who will travel to and from the factory site in the coming years will need adequate infrastructure in place to do so efficiently, as will those who attend events at the near-$2 billion National Football League stadium for the Raiders under construction in Las Vegas.
The Nevada Department of Transportation has committed to spending about $900 million for infrastructure improvements around the stadium. However, because funding still has not yet been secured, the project will not be complete until at least a year after the Raiders are scheduled to start playing at the new venue.
- Milwaukee Business News Foxconn sends I-94 work into overdrive in Racine County
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