Transportation Projects Commission to Reconvene after 5-year Hiatus

The bipartisan commission charged with evaluating — and ultimately recommending to lawmakers — the state’s largest road projects has not met in nearly five years.

However, Gov. Tony Evers and his appointed secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Craig Thompson, have said that will change this winter when the Transportation Projects Commission reconvenes.

A specific date hasn’t been scheduled, but Thompson said the DOT has recommended meeting yet this year.

Created in 1983, the TPC takes up discussion on the state’s largest projects, including expansions that add more than five lane miles to a roadway or construction of two and a half or more miles of new roadway, such as a bypass.

Projects that exceed an inflation-adjusted price point also fall under the TPC’s authority. That number currently sits at about $92 million.

“That’s really why the TPC is so important,” said Joe Nestler, the DOT’s administrator of the Division of Transportation Investment Management. “They’re high-dollar and if you’re going to have impacts, these are the projects that are going to have the largest impacts.”

The 15-member commission includes five members each from the Senate and Assembly, three citizen members, Thompson, who holds a nonvoting seat, and Evers.

Traditionally, the TPC meets once a year to discuss project study recommendations made in odd-numbered years and project enumeration, or approval to construct, recommendations made in even-numbered years. Recommendations go to the Legislature for approval.