Dane County supports federal funding for the North Mendota Parkway, according to the legislative agenda approved by the Dane County Board at its meeting on April 22.
“The federal infrastructure bill being proposed by President Biden has the potential to finally move forward on the North Mendota Parkway,” said county Supervisor Tim Kiefer, whose district includes the village of Waunakee and part of the town of Westport. “The population of Dane County keeps growing, and we need a road system that can accommodate this growth.”
The North Mendota Parkway is a plan for an east-west corridor crossing north of Lake Mendota, providing a connection from the interstate highway to Hwy. 12. The parkway is envisioned as an alternative to Hwy. 19, especially for non-local truck traffic. The parkway has been discussed and planned for many years, but has been stalled by a lack of state and federal highway funding.
The county’s legislative agenda also opposes any future expansion of Waunakee’s Main Street to four lanes. This issue last came up when Main Street was rebuilt several years ago, and continues to remain as a possibility.
“As Waunakee’s Main Street is part of State Highways 19 and 113, the ultimate authority over the street remains with the Wisconsin state government,” Kiefer said. “The local community has made it clear that we want to maintain the small-town character of Waunakee’s Main Street, and the county is also on record as opposing any future widening to four lanes.”
The county’s legislative agenda, which is written and approved by the county board once every two years, sets forth the county’s official positions on a range of state and federal issues. The county employs a legislative liaison to advocate for the legislative agenda with state and federal leaders.
“I look forward to working with the county’s legislative liaison to continue advocating for the North Mendota Parkway,” Kiefer said. “This much-needed project has been delayed for too long and I hope that the federal infrastructure bill gives us an opportunity.”
President Biden’s federal infrastructure bill is expected to include more than $2 trillion in projects, although details of the legislation have not yet been finalized. Recent polling by the online research firm SurveyMonkey shows that 83 percent of the public supports “increasing spending to repair highways, bridges and major roads.”
While the county waits for Congress to pass the infrastructure bill, the county is also doing its own work to improve county highways.
The county has a project underway to upgrade the Westport section of County Highway M. This county highway is overloaded with traffic during peak travel times. The Hwy. M project will widen the highway to four lanes in some areas, reconfigure the intersection with Hwy. K and improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.