Wisconsin Republicans Block Congestion, Pollution Funds From Bike and Ped Projects

It was always a risk that states would use funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to double down on the transportation systems that create congestion and air pollution.

2 minute read

May 1, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Madison Bike

Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock

“A $283 million boost in federal highway money that Wisconsin is getting from Washington got approval from the Legislature’s budget committee Tuesday, but only after the Republican majority rewrote some of the spending plan for the new funds,” reports Erik Gunn for the Wisconsin Examiner.

“The money comes to the state as a result of the federal [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act] enacted in late 2021 and the 2022 federal appropriations bill that followed this March,” adds Gunn to explain the state’s largesse.

The reasoning behind the Republican rewrite of the spending plan is worth paying attention for planners and advocates hoping to fund and complete projects proven to reduce automobile trips, reduce congestion, and reduce air pollution from combustion engines. The original plan for the $283 million, proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), devoted $4.3 million of the funding to the state’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program (CMAQ). The changes implemented by Republican committee members, however, ensure that the CMAQ funding won’t be spent on bicycle, pedestrian, or trail facilities.

The WisDOT is limited to spending CMAG funds in non-attainment and maintenance counties (i.e., high air pollution areas, as defined by federal law) in southeastern and northeastern Wisconsin—Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Sheboygan, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, and Door—so the funding changes deliver a blow to plans in the locations that need non-polluting transportation projects the most.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 in Wisconsin Examiner

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of suburban sprawl with large single-family homes near Dallas, Texas.

The Changing Shape of American Suburbs

Housing costs and availability are pushing more American households, including young families, to suburbs and exurbs — and they’re demanding changes.

February 13, 2024 - Business Insider

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

Google street view of wide grassy median in Beverly Hills, California.

Beverly Hills Installs First ‘Green Street’

A three-block median featuring native plants and bioswales is part of the city’s broader effort to reduce water consumption and pollution.

7 hours ago - Beverly Press

Habitat for Humanity volunteers in construction helmets buildign a wood-frame house.

Habitat for Humanity and Missoula Land Trust Team up on Affordable Housing

The partnership will ensure the new homes will remain affordable for future buyers.

February 22 - KPAX

Orange California poppies in bloom over gently rolling hills in Southern California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Experiencing California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Located in the western Mojave Desert, this stunning state natural reserve is renowned for its breathtaking displays of California poppies and has even been referred to as California's most beautiful place.

February 22 - California.com

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.