HORTONVILLE, Wis. - At the Hortonville municipal building on Monday, the village administrator read a proclamation and then invited local leaders to sign it that sends a message to those in Madison that it's time to fund the Highway 15 expansion and bypass.
The Hortonville village administrator read a proclamation about the desperate need for the Highway15 project to be funded. It was then signed by local leaders, and it will be mailed to Governor Tony Evers.
Governor Tony Evers has included money for the Highway 15 project in his state budget proposal, just like former Governor Scott Walker did.
However, state lawmakers keep taking that money away from the project and moving it to other places.
The Hortonville village administrator blamed lobbyists influencing state lawmakers as the catalyst of that problem.
Now, local leaders are putting their foot down, and telling lawmakers to leave the Highway 15 money where it is in Governor Evers' budget proposal.
"The governor's put it in the budget, clearly the governor supports it," Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said. "The only thing we're asking is for legislators just to let it be. We're not asking for anything, it's in the budget, it's right where we need it to be."
As the years go on with no green-light from Madison, the project only grows more expensive by the millions.
The price tag on it right now is $137.7 million.
"We were getting unclear issues, is it a DOT issue, is it a legislature issue, fingers seem to be pointing at each other, we just got to get those people on the same page," Hortonville village administrator David DeTroye said.
Most of all, leaders said, it's a safety issue.
The Wisconsin DOT estimates 20,000 are driving on Highway 15 every day.
It's a highway with only one lane going each way, making it dangerous for drivers to pass other cars or turn.
"What we're failing to remember is that people are dying on our highways, and this is going to be for the betterment of our region," DeTroye said.
The expansion would create two lanes in either direction, along with a bypass to ease congestion.
"We're kind of drawing a line in the sand now," DeTroye said of the money not being passed by lawmakers in the past. "We're hoping that it's our turn."
If state lawmakers keep the Highway 15 project in the budget and it is then signed by Governor Evers, construction would get underway in 2021 and wrap up by 2024 or 2025.
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