DOT plans $100 million in road projects around Foxconn next year

Company to deposit $60 million in escrow account by Friday

The state Department of Transportation is planning to start more than $100 million in projects next year around the site of Foxconn Technology Group’s future LCD panel campus, including up to $87 million in construction on local roads.

Dave DeGroot, Louis Woo and Jonathan Delagrave hold up a signed developers agreement

In early November, the village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County turned over jurisdiction of several local roads near the Foxconn site to the state for expansion in preparation for the 22-million-square-foot campus being built. The agreement noted the village and county believed it would be “advantageous due to the size and scope” to have the DOT carry out improvements to local roadways.

An overview of the local incentives offered to Foxconn noted that while the village would be providing $11.5 million in funding, the state would be managing and funding all roadway improvements and “all risk will be borne by WisDOT.”

The transfer is now drawing renewed interest after a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo to Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, suggested the state’s spending on local road improvements could push back other projects around the state.

“Given that this work would be carried out on local roads, it is unlikely that this work would have been included in the state highway rehabilitation programming (and budgeted funding) envisioned during the 2017-19 budget deliberations,” the memo by LFB fiscal analyst John Wilson-Tepeli said. “Therefore, the use of state highway rehabilitation funding to complete this work near the Foxconn site would likely result in the delay of other, previously planned rehabilitation projects on state highways.”

Hintz had requested information on potential state costs for local road improvements. The LFB memo says the department indicated it doesn’t have a specific cost estimate, but the memo also notes the DOT’s request for federal funding for the Interstate 94 North-South project estimated the costs would be around $134 million.

“Awesome. Governor Walker is taking $134 million away from state highway rehab project and using it to pay for local roads for Foxconn,” Hintz tweeted in response to a Wisconsin State Journal article on the memo.

The LFB memo also points to the DOT’s December master contract schedule, which includes five local road projects slated to at least be put out for bids by the end of next year.

Those projects include:

  • $4 million to $5 million for the resurfacing of Highway H between Highway KR and Highway 20.
  • $9 million to $10 million for the reconstruction of International Drive between Highway 11 and Highway 20.
  • $15 million to $17 million for the reconstruction of Braun Road from the interstate to 90th Street.
  • $20 million to $25 million for the construction of a new road, Wisconn Valley Way, between Highway KR and Highway 11.
  • $25 million to $30 million for the reconstruction of Highway KR from the interstate to 90th Street.

Also included on the master schedule, but not in the LFB memo, is $14 million to $15 million for work zone preparation, including widening shoulders, on Interstate 94 between Highway 142 and Highway G.

The department is seeking $246.2 million in federal grant funding to go with state bonding included in the Foxconn special session legislation to complete the expansion of Interstate 94 North-South.

A federal Department of Transportation spokeswoman said in late November no date had been set for a determination on the grant funding.

Roads are just one of the infrastructure upgrades planned around the Foxconn site. Racine and Mount Pleasant officials hope to have a plan to get Lake Michigan water to the campus ready for Department of Natural Resources review by February. American Transmission Co. also announced a $140 million upgrade to its infrastructure to meet Foxconn’s electricity needs. That plan, first announced last week, will be submitted to the state Public Service Commission in February.

Escrow account to be established this week

Attorneys for Foxconn, Mount Pleasant and Racine County also announced last week that the company would likely deposit a $60 million developer advance into an escrow account by Friday. The money is intended to pay for the acquisition of land in areas slated for future Foxconn expansion or company suppliers. The developers agreement signed by the company and local officials had required the company to make the deposit by Dec. 15.

“Foxconn has the $60 million of funds available for deposit, as required by the Development Agreement. We are now working with the title company to establish the required Escrow Account. The funds will be deposited into the Escrow Account, as soon as it is established, which we anticipate before December 22,” the three attorneys said in a statement.

The state Department of Transportation is planning to start more than $100 million in projects next year around the site of Foxconn Technology Group’s future LCD panel campus, including up to $87 million in construction on local roads.

Dave DeGroot, Louis Woo and Jonathan Delagrave hold up a signed developers agreement

In early November, the village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County turned over jurisdiction of several local roads near the Foxconn site to the state for expansion in preparation for the 22-million-square-foot campus being built. The agreement noted the village and county believed it would be “advantageous due to the size and scope” to have the DOT carry out improvements to local roadways.

An overview of the local incentives offered to Foxconn noted that while the village would be providing $11.5 million in funding, the state would be managing and funding all roadway improvements and “all risk will be borne by WisDOT.”

The transfer is now drawing renewed interest after a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo to Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, suggested the state’s spending on local road improvements could push back other projects around the state.

“Given that this work would be carried out on local roads, it is unlikely that this work would have been included in the state highway rehabilitation programming (and budgeted funding) envisioned during the 2017-19 budget deliberations,” the memo by LFB fiscal analyst John Wilson-Tepeli said. “Therefore, the use of state highway rehabilitation funding to complete this work near the Foxconn site would likely result in the delay of other, previously planned rehabilitation projects on state highways.”

Hintz had requested information on potential state costs for local road improvements. The LFB memo says the department indicated it doesn’t have a specific cost estimate, but the memo also notes the DOT’s request for federal funding for the Interstate 94 North-South project estimated the costs would be around $134 million.

“Awesome. Governor Walker is taking $134 million away from state highway rehab project and using it to pay for local roads for Foxconn,” Hintz tweeted in response to a Wisconsin State Journal article on the memo.

The LFB memo also points to the DOT’s December master contract schedule, which includes five local road projects slated to at least be put out for bids by the end of next year.

Those projects include:

  • $4 million to $5 million for the resurfacing of Highway H between Highway KR and Highway 20.
  • $9 million to $10 million for the reconstruction of International Drive between Highway 11 and Highway 20.
  • $15 million to $17 million for the reconstruction of Braun Road from the interstate to 90th Street.
  • $20 million to $25 million for the construction of a new road, Wisconn Valley Way, between Highway KR and Highway 11.
  • $25 million to $30 million for the reconstruction of Highway KR from the interstate to 90th Street.

Also included on the master schedule, but not in the LFB memo, is $14 million to $15 million for work zone preparation, including widening shoulders, on Interstate 94 between Highway 142 and Highway G.

The department is seeking $246.2 million in federal grant funding to go with state bonding included in the Foxconn special session legislation to complete the expansion of Interstate 94 North-South.

A federal Department of Transportation spokeswoman said in late November no date had been set for a determination on the grant funding.

Roads are just one of the infrastructure upgrades planned around the Foxconn site. Racine and Mount Pleasant officials hope to have a plan to get Lake Michigan water to the campus ready for Department of Natural Resources review by February. American Transmission Co. also announced a $140 million upgrade to its infrastructure to meet Foxconn’s electricity needs. That plan, first announced last week, will be submitted to the state Public Service Commission in February.

Escrow account to be established this week

Attorneys for Foxconn, Mount Pleasant and Racine County also announced last week that the company would likely deposit a $60 million developer advance into an escrow account by Friday. The money is intended to pay for the acquisition of land in areas slated for future Foxconn expansion or company suppliers. The developers agreement signed by the company and local officials had required the company to make the deposit by Dec. 15.

“Foxconn has the $60 million of funds available for deposit, as required by the Development Agreement. We are now working with the title company to establish the required Escrow Account. The funds will be deposited into the Escrow Account, as soon as it is established, which we anticipate before December 22,” the three attorneys said in a statement.

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