86.31(2)(a) (a) The department shall administer a local roads improvement program to accelerate the improvement of seriously deteriorating local roads and, under sub. (3o), of agricultural roads improvements by reimbursing political subdivisions for improvements. The selection of improvements that may be funded under the program shall be performed by officials of each political subdivision, consistent with par. (h) and the requirements of subs. (3), (3g), (3m), (3o), and (3r). The department shall notify each county highway commissioner of any deadline that affects eligibility for reimbursement under the program no later than 15 days before such deadline.
86.31(2)(b) (b) Except as provided in par. (d), improvements for highway construction projects funded under the program shall be under contracts. Such contracts shall be awarded on the basis of competitive bids and shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. If a city or village does not receive a responsible bid for an improvement, the city or village may contract with a county for the improvement. Subject to s. 59.52 (30), a town may contract with a county for the improvement subject to the criteria and procedures promulgated as rules under sub. (6) (h).
86.31(2)(c) (c) Improvements consisting of feasibility studies funded under the program may be performed by political subdivisions or the department of transportation, including the making and execution of all contracts.
86.31(2)(d) (d) County trunk highway improvements funded under the program, including the hauling and laying of asphaltic hot mix, may be performed by county highway departments, subject to the following restrictions:
86.31(2)(d)1m. 1m. The county highway department demonstrates that it is cost-effective for it to perform the work and that competitive bidding is to be used for improvements with an estimated total cost at least equal to the total funds allocated for its county trunk highway improvements under the program during the current biennium.
86.31(2)(d)4. 4. Contracts for the purchase of asphaltic hot mix shall be awarded on the basis of competitive sealed bidding.
86.31(2)(d)5. 5. Each county highway improvement program district committee shall do all of the following with respect to any work to be performed by any county highway department within the county highway improvement program district:
86.31(2)(d)5.a. a. Review the proposed work and determine that it is cost-effective for the county highway department to perform the work.
86.31(2)(d)5.b. b. Approve the proposed work prior to its being performed by the county highway department.
86.31(2)(e) (e) The department of transportation may not require as a condition of reimbursement that the design and construction of any improvement with eligible costs totaling $65,000 or less be certified by a registered professional engineer.
86.31(2)(h) (h) A double seal coat project on a town road may be funded under the program if it has a projected life of at least 10 years, similar projects in the same geographic area have performed satisfactorily, and the county highway commissioner of the county in which the project is located approves the project's eligibility for funding.
86.31(3) (3)Entitlement component.
86.31(3)(a) (a) Funds provided under s. 20.395 (2) (fr) shall be distributed under this subsection. For purposes of entitlement, the program shall consist of the following components:
86.31(3)(a)1. 1. County trunk highway improvements.
86.31(3)(a)2. 2. Town road improvements.
86.31(3)(a)3. 3. City and village street improvements.
86.31(3)(b) (b) From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fr), the department shall allocate funds for entitlement as follows:
86.31(3)(b)1. 1. For county trunk highway improvements, 43 percent.
86.31(3)(b)2. 2. For town road improvements, 28.5 percent.
86.31(3)(b)3. 3. For city and village street improvements, 28.5 percent.
86.31(3)(c) (c) Entitlements for each component under this subsection will be determined by a formula and calculated for each county, except that cities and villages with a population of 20,000 or more shall receive a proportionate share of the entitlement for city and village street improvements for the applicable county. No county may receive less than 0.5 percent of the total funds allocated to counties for county trunk highway improvements under par. (b) 1.
86.31(3g) (3g)County trunk highway improvements — discretionary grants. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (ft), the department shall allocate $5,127,000 in fiscal years 2014-15 to 2016-17 and $5,393,400 in fiscal year 2017-2018 to fund county trunk highway improvements with eligible costs totaling more than $250,000. In fiscal year 2023-24 the department shall allocate $5,615,600 to fund county trunk highway improvements with such eligible costs. In fiscal year 2024-25 and each fiscal year thereafter, the department shall allocate $5,840,200 to fund county trunk highway improvements with such eligible costs. The funding of improvements under this subsection is in addition to the allocation of funds for entitlements under sub. (3).
86.31(3m) (3m)Town road improvements — discretionary grants. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (ft), the department shall allocate $5,732,500 in fiscal years 2011-12 to 2016-17 and $5,923,600 in fiscal year 2017-18 to fund town road improvements with eligible costs totaling $100,000 or more. In fiscal year 2023-24, the department shall allocate $6,151,900 to fund town road improvements with such eligible costs. In fiscal year 2024-25 and each fiscal year thereafter, the department shall allocate $6,398,000 to fund town road improvements with such eligible costs. The funding of improvements under this subsection is in addition to the allocation of funds for entitlements under sub. (3).
86.31(3o) (3o)Agricultural roads improvements.
86.31(3o)(a)1.1. Any funds directed for agricultural roads improvements under this subsection shall be distributed as grants to reimburse political subdivisions for eligible agricultural road projects or expended for reimbursable costs by the department acting as a fiscal agent under par. (i).
86.31(3o)(a)2. 2. The department shall prescribe the form, nature, and extent of information that shall be contained in applications for grants under this subsection. If the application is for a project to improve a class “B” highway, the department shall require the applicant to state when the highway was designated as a class “B” highway under s. 349.15. To the extent feasible, the department shall do all of the following:
86.31(3o)(a)2.a. a. Develop an application that does not exceed 2 pages in length.
86.31(3o)(a)2.b. b. Prescribe a simple and clear application process that is reasonably accessible to political subdivisions with limited staffing resources.
86.31(3o)(b) (b) An agricultural road project is not eligible for a grant under this subsection unless all of the following apply:
86.31(3o)(b)1. 1. The project is to improve a highway functionally classified by the department as a local road or minor collector or a bridge or culvert on a highway functionally classified by the department as a local road or minor collector.
86.31(3o)(b)2. 2. If the project is solely for the improvement of a bridge or culvert, the bridge or culvert is 20 feet or less in length and is not eligible for funding under a federal program providing funding for bridge improvements.
86.31(3o)(b)3. 3. The highway, bridge, or culvert under subd. 1. provides access to agricultural lands or facilities used for the production of agricultural goods, including forest products, and is used by at least one agricultural producer.
86.31(3o)(b)4. 4. The highway under subd. 1. or the highway upon which the bridge or culvert under subd. 1. is located is designated as a class “B” highway under s. 349.15 due to structural deficiencies or has been subject to a posted weight limitation for at least one month during the previous year.
86.31(3o)(b)5. 5. After completion of the project, except as provided under par. (k), the highway under subd. 4. will not be designated as a class “B” highway under s. 349.15 and will not be subject to a posted weight limitation other than under extraordinary or emergency circumstances.
86.31(3o)(b)6. 6. The highway, bridge, or culvert under subd. 1. is maintained by a political subdivision.
86.31(3o)(c) (c) In awarding grants under this subsection, subject to par. (d), the department and the committee under par. (j), with information from affected highway users, shall select projects that provide the greatest benefit to agricultural producers in this state using the following criteria:
86.31(3o)(c)1. 1. Projects that improve access by the largest number of agricultural producers to agricultural lands or facilities used for the production of agricultural goods, including forest products.
86.31(3o)(c)2. 2. Projects that will result in reduction of any of the following for agricultural producers:
86.31(3o)(c)2.a. a. Repeated trips at reduced weights.
86.31(3o)(c)2.b. b. Labor costs.
86.31(3o)(c)2.c. c. Fuel costs.
86.31(3o)(c)2.d. d. Mileage upon and damage to equipment used in agricultural production.
86.31(3o)(c)2.e. e. Costs other than those in subd. 2. a. to d. resulting from a highway being designated as a class “B” highway under s. 349.15 or being subject to a posted weight limit under other than extraordinary or emergency circumstances.
86.31(3o)(c)3. 3. Projects that will result in the greatest positive economic impact. Under this subdivision, the department and the committee shall consider the number of employees and the amount of agricultural product sales from agricultural producers that would be directly affected by the project.
86.31(3o)(c)4. 4. Projects for which the access provided under par. (b) 3. is the only feasible access to the lands or facilities.
86.31(3o)(c)5. 5. Projects that are the subject of a grant application by a political subdivision that faces demonstrable fiscal or administrative difficulties in completing highway projects.
86.31(3o)(c)6. 6. Projects that will result in the transportation of the largest amount of agricultural goods, including forest products.
86.31(3o)(c)7. 7. Projects that improve access to agricultural lands or facilities used for the production of agricultural goods, including forest products, for more than one agricultural producer.
86.31(3o)(d) (d) The department shall attempt to award grants under this subsection to political subdivisions in all geographic areas of the state.
86.31(3o)(e) (e) The department may make grants under this subsection of up to 90 percent of reimbursable costs.
86.31(3o)(f) (f) Reimbursable costs under this subsection include any costs related to an eligible agricultural road project, including costs of initial plan design and engineering, planning, designing, engineering, and construction of an eligible agricultural road project.
86.31(3o)(g) (g) Notwithstanding sub. (4), upon request by a political subdivision for partial payment not more frequently than quarterly, the department shall reimburse any reimbursable costs incurred by the political subdivision for an eligible agricultural road project.
86.31(3o)(h) (h) A political subdivision may pay for or otherwise obtain engineering and design work for a project funded by a grant under this subsection from the department or from another source.
86.31(3o)(i) (i) Upon request by the grantee, the department shall be designated as a fiscal agent of a grantee for the purposes of a project funded by a grant under this subsection. If acting as a fiscal agent under this paragraph, the department shall, upon request, pay reimbursable costs for an agricultural road project when incurred and retain or receive grant moneys as reimbursement for these payments.
86.31(3o)(j) (j) The department shall establish a committee to review grant applications and award grants under this subsection. The committee shall consist of members appointed by the secretary, have geographically diverse representation, and include as members representatives of agricultural industries and political subdivisions with jurisdiction over highways, bridges, or culverts that are eligible for grants under par. (b). The secretary or designee shall serve as a nonvoting member of the committee. The committee members shall serve a term equal to the duration of the program under this subsection.
86.31(3o)(k) (k) Notwithstanding ss. 349.15 (2) and 349.16 (1), no highway, bridge, or culvert improved under this subsection may be designated as a class “B” highway under s. 349.15 or be subject to a posted weight limitation other than under extraordinary or emergency circumstances unless the political subdivision having jurisdiction over the highway, bridge, or culvert obtains a pavement or structural analysis performed by a professional engineer or the county highway commissioner for the county in which the highway, bridge, or culvert is located supports the weight limitation and certifies to the department the reason for the weight limitation.
86.31(3o)(L) (L) By July 1, 2025, and annually thereafter, the department in consultation with the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection shall submit a report on the program under this subsection to the joint committee on finance and the standing committee of each house of the legislature having jurisdiction over transportation. The report shall provide the number and total amount of grants awarded, and an estimate of the economic impact of projects funded, under this subsection during the previous year and over the lifetime of the program. The department of transportation is not required to submit a report under this paragraph if no expenditures were made under this subsection in the previous year.
86.31(3o)(m)1.1. After June 23, 2026, the department may not award a grant under this subsection.
86.31(3o)(m)2. 2. After June 23, 2028, the department may not reimburse any costs incurred under this subsection.
86.31(3o)(n) (n) Except as provided in pars. (k) and (m) 2., this subsection does not apply after June 23, 2028.
86.31(3r) (3r)Municipal street improvements — discretionary grants. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (ft), the department shall allocate $976,500 in fiscal years 2009-10 to 2016-17 and $3,850,400 in fiscal year 2017-18 to fund municipal street improvement projects having total estimated costs of $250,000 or more. In fiscal year 2023-24, the department shall allocate $4,006,600 to fund municipal street improvement projects having such total estimated costs. In fiscal year 2024-25 and each fiscal year thereafter, the department shall allocate $4,166,900 to fund municipal street improvement projects having such total estimated costs. The funding of improvements under this subsection is in addition to the allocation of funds for entitlements under sub. (3).
86.31(3s) (3s)Discretionary supplemental grants.
86.31(3s)(a)(a) Funds provided under s. 20.395 (2) (fq) shall be distributed under this subsection as discretionary grants to reimburse political subdivisions for improvements. The department shall solicit and provide discretionary grants under this subsection until all funds appropriated under s. 20.395 (2) (fq) have been expended.
86.31(3s)(b)1.1. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fc), 2019 stats., the department shall allocate $32,003,200 in fiscal year 2019-20, to fund county trunk highway improvements.
86.31(3s)(b)2. 2. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fc), 2019 stats., the department shall allocate $35,149,400 in fiscal year 2019-20, to fund town road improvements.
86.31(3s)(b)3. 3. From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fc), 2019 stats., the department shall allocate $22,847,400 in fiscal year 2019-20, to fund municipal street improvement projects.
86.31(3s)(bm) (bm) From the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fq), the department shall allocate in 2023-24 amounts for county trunk highway improvements, town road improvements, and municipal street improvements so that the total funding under s. 20.395 (2) (fq) in 2023-24 is distributed among these groups at the same percentage that each group is allocated from the total funding allocated under par. (b).
86.31(3s)(c) (c) Notwithstanding sub. (4), a political subdivision may apply to the department under this subsection for reimbursement of not more than 90 percent of eligible costs of an improvement.
86.31(3t) (3t)Payments related to environmental review of local projects. Notwithstanding limitations on the amount and use of aids provided under this section, or on eligibility requirements for receiving aids under this section, and subject to any applicable interagency agreement between the department of transportation and the department of natural resources, the department of transportation may make a payment in each fiscal year to the department of natural resources to support 3.0 full-time equivalent positions in the department of natural resources related to the environmental review of local transportation projects. Notwithstanding sub. (3), any payment under this subsection shall be made from the appropriation under s. 20.395 (2) (fr) before making any other allocation of funds under sub. (3). After the department of transportation makes the payment under this subsection, the allocation of funds under sub. (3) shall be reduced proportionately to reflect the amount of the payment.
86.31(4) (4)Reimbursement for improvements. All costs of an improvement funded under this section shall be the responsibility of the political subdivision. At the completion of an improvement, the political subdivision may apply to the department for reimbursement of not more than 50 percent of eligible costs in the manner and form prescribed by the department. Eligible costs for which no reimbursement is made by the department may be paid by the political subdivision from contributions of tribal funds received from federally recognized American Indian tribes or bands in this state.
86.31(5) (5)Exceptions. Nothing in this section prevents improvements under other highway aid programs if applicable.
86.31(6) (6)Rules. The department shall promulgate rules to implement and administer the program. The rules shall include all of the following:
86.31(6)(a) (a) Criteria for county administrative responsibilities.
86.31(6)(b) (b) Reallocation of any uncommitted funds, including a procedure to reallocate uncommitted funds between counties.
86.31(6)(c) (c) Formulas and procedures for entitlements and reimbursements for each program component under sub. (3) (a) 1. to 3.
86.31(6)(d) (d) Procedures for reimbursements for county trunk highway improvements under sub. (3g), for town road improvements under sub. (3m) and for municipal street improvements under sub. (3r).
86.31(6)(e) (e) Procedures for the selection and administration of improvements.
86.31(6)(f) (f) Procedures for the establishment, administration and operation of county highway improvement program districts and county highway improvement program district committees.
86.31(6)(g) (g) Specific criteria for making determinations of cost-effectiveness under sub. (2) (d) 5. a. and procedures for review by the department of disputes relating to whether proposed work to be performed by a county highway department is cost-effective for purposes of sub. (2) (d) 5. a.
86.31(6)(h) (h) Subject to s. 59.52 (30), criteria and procedures for contracting with a county for a town road improvement that includes at least all of the following:
86.31(6)(h)1. 1. A requirement that a written and sealed estimate of the cost of the improvement that includes the source of the estimate be prepared prior to the time set for the opening of bids for the improvement and not be opened until after the opening of all bids.
86.31(6)(h)2. 2. A requirement that all bids may be rejected and the contract awarded to a county for the improvement if the lowest bid exceeds the cost estimate under subd. 1. by at least 10 percent and the town board notifies the 2 lowest bidders or, if only one bid was received, the bidder to provide information on the accuracy of the cost estimate under subd. 1.
86.31(6)(h)3. 3. A requirement that the amount of the contract with a county for the improvement be at least 10 percent below the lowest bid received for the improvement.
86.31(6)(h)4. 4. A provision that permits rebidding if the amount of the proposed contract with a county for the improvement is less than 10 percent below the lowest bid received for the improvement.
86.31(6)(i) (i) Authorization for a political subdivision to apply towards its eligible expenses for which reimbursement is not sought under sub. (4) contributions of tribal funds deriving from any source to the extent allowed under federal law.
86.31 History History: 1991 a. 39, 269; 1993 a. 16, 437; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 33; 2005 a. 25; 2007 a. 20; 2009 a. 28; 2011 a. 32, 257; 2013 a. 49; 2015 a. 55; 2017 a. 59; 2019 a. 9; Bartlett v. Evers, 2020 WI 68, ¶¶ 4, 9, 393 Wis. 2d 172, 945 N.W.2d 685, 19-1376; 2021 a. 58, 240; 2023 a. 13, 19; s. 35.17 correction in (3o) (j), (k).
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2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 272 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on June 19, 2024. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after June 19, 2024, are designated by NOTES. (Published 6-19-24)