Business 51 Schofield to be resurfaced next year if state budget passes as is

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SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -- In town as part of the budget tour, Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson told NewsChannel 7 the infamous stretch of Business 51 or Schofield Avenue will be resurfaced in 2020 if the governor's budget passes as it is now.

The news comes after the City of Schofield and some of its residents wrote letters to the DOT pleading to have the state road fixed.

"If it (the budget) is passed with what the governor's proposed, we've got over 200 projects that we can move up and begin getting done like Business 51 here in the Wausau area," Thompson said.

He said the road would be resurfaced from the Eau Claire River through Schofield next year and the southern portion would be resurfaced in 2021. He explained broad reconstruction needs to be done on the road, which is scheduled to begin in the next five to 10 years, but the resurfacing should help in the interim.

The timeline for projects like this one rely on funding and what gets passed in the next budget. Thompson said the current plan allows for these timelines, but that could change if a different budget planned is passed.

"It all depends on what they pass if they go a different route, but if we don't have that money in there for the highway rehabilitation program, you know, those projects are going to continue to just be delayed and we're going to continue to drive over you know, bumpy roads," he said frankly.

The proposed budget has $6.8 billion going towards the DOT with revenue coming from plans like:
- increasing the gas tax by 8 cents,
- returning indexing, so the gas tax is based off inflation not gas prices and thus not requiring the legislature to raise it,
- getting rid of minimum markup law
- and increasing the registration fee on heavy trucks and a $10 increase on title fees.

"People have to decide if they think that's worth it to fix these roads around here," Thompson stated. "I think they should let their legislators know. And I think in the end, our legislators do listen to their voters back home."