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DOT readies $300 million wish list for Fed stimulus plan

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says it has more than $300 million in road projects ready to go if money becomes available through a new federal economic stimulus plan.

The DOT drew up its estimate as part of a survey for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation. The Association is gathering similar estimates from all states, which may provide stiff competition for Wisconsin.

AASHTO director John Horsley says it will help his group present Congress with a master list of projects that states would like to build if they had the money.

A year ago, when AASHTO surveyed states, Wisconsin listed only $35 million worth of projects that could begin right away, putting it second to last among all states.

The Wisconsin DOT's Mark Wolfgram says part of the reason that the number has grown to more than $300 million is that inflation put off lots of road projects. But he also says the state wanted to be ready in the event of a federal stimulus package.

"Certainly we don't want to leave any money on the table," says Wolfgram. "We want to create as many jobs here in the state as possible. We have all these infrastructure projects are needed."

With a federal stimulus plan imminent, other states have also increased their estimates on how much they're ready to spend immediately on road construction.

Last year's AASHTO survey listed more than $18 billion of "ready to go" projects nationwide.

AASHTO's Horsley says that with a little more than half of all states responding to this latest survey that number had grown to $32 billion.