Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 247 expanding the Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) by creating the Agricultural Roads Improvement Program which focuses on agricultural road improvement projects. This follows Evers signing a statewide shared revenue bill to raise aid for communities across the state.
LRIP supports local governments looking to improve “seriously deteriorating” county highways and roads in municipalities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, the governor’s office said. Under LRIP, the agricultural roads program would make “targeted investments” in eligible projects that support agriculture, especially for projects that would not receive funding from other state aid programs.
Evers signed the bill during the month of June, which is considered Dairy Month by several major dairy farmer organizations. The governor said the bipartisan legislation would help farmers, producers and the agricultural industry.
“I am proud to be celebrating June Dairy Month in America’s Dairyland today by signing bipartisan legislation to support our farmers, producers and our agricultural industry. A top priority for me from the beginning has been fixing our roads and bridges and making sure our infrastructure is prepared for the 21st century,” Evers added.
Evers said the quality of local bridges and roads was critical to farmers and the state’s economy.
“The quality of our local roads, bridges, and highways is critical to the success of our farmers, their families, and our state’s economy. By improving agricultural roads across our state, we’re helping 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. This bill is great news for farmers and folks across our state, and I’m grateful for the bipartisan work to get this done this session,” Evers added.
Under the new law, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will administer a local roads improvement program to accelerate the improvement of deteriorating roads and agricultural roads by reimbursing political subdivisions for improvements, according to the bill text.
The new act creates a new program under the Local Roads Improvement Program, called the Agricultural Roads Improvement Program, for improving agricultural roads that wouldn’t receive priority from other state aid programs, governor’s officials said. The bill also specifies eligibility requirements for a project to receive funding under the program, officials added.