Kaukauna officials wait for word on Veterans Memorial Lift Bridge funding

Published: Jul. 11, 2019 at 7:56 PM CDT
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With the clock ticking on a US Coast Guard order to fix the Veterans Memorial Lift Bridge in Kaukauna, there's still no certainty on how the project will be paid for.

That project to make the bridge operational is expected to cost $2.2 million, with the state covering 80 percent.

The city was expected to pay the remaining 20 percent.

However, last week Governor Evers vetoed the item out of the state budget.

That's since left a lot of questions over who will pay for the project, which must be done by May 2021.

Kaukauna Mayor Tony Penterman said, "We may have to delay some of our public works projects to fund the project or have to borrow -- and you pay the interest on the borrowing, so it's a little more expensive that way."

The governor did suggest in his veto summary he would work with the DOT to find other funding options.

Both city officials and the governor's administration met Wednesday to discuss those alternatives.

"At the end of the day, I don't care who gets credit for this. I just want it to get done," said state Rep. Jim Steineke, a Kaukauna Republican. "So if the governor wants to do it in a different way so he can put his name on it, that's fine with me. I just want to make sure the city taxpayers don't get stuck with a $270 tax bill per home."

Penterman added, "The taxpayers should not bear the 1.8 million. We'd like it funded at the 80/20. They believe there's a funding mechanism that will work for this bridge. They're not sure if it will be funded at the 80/20; it could be less, it could be more."

Penterman says he's been assured by the DOT he will receive an answer on funding by mid-August.

The goal is to begin making repairs to the bridge sometime next spring.

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