Legislation was recently proposed to enhance the Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) Grant program, which is a key economic tool used by communities across Wisconsin. The bill (LRB-0728), currently circulated for co-sponsorship, would ensure the TEA grant program continues to provide grant funding for jobs retained – and not just newly created jobs. The bill’s authors include Senators Jerry Petrowski (R) and Tim Carpenter (D) and Representative Romaine Quinn (R).
Please contact your legislators TODAY and urge them to co-sponsor LRB-0728.
The TEA Grant program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT), was created in 1987 to provide funding for transportation improvements critical to economic development projects that retain and create jobs in Wisconsin. Since its inception, the program has awarded over 350 grants statewide totaling more than $110 million. In addition, TEA Grants have helped fund road, rail, harbor and airport projects that have resulted in the creation of over 27,000 new jobs and the retention of more than 19,000 jobs across the state.
The program has an annual appropriation of approximately $3.4 million and offers grants that provide $5,000 per job created or retained, up to 50% of the total cost of the transportation improvement project. Individual grants are capped at $1 million and require a 50% local match from a non-state source, such as a community or business.
Roughly two years ago, after a legal review of the program, the DOT determined it did not possess the statutory authority to provide grant funding for jobs retained – and going forward would only support projects that create new jobs. Unfortunately, this change has diminished the value of the TEA Grant program. It is also in direct conflict with Wisconsin’s growing workforce shortage, which makes it necessary for state programs and policies to recognize that job retention is just as important as job creation.
LRB-0728 would restore the TEA Grant program’s long history of awarding project funds for both job creation and job retention. The bill would NOT increase overall funding for the program.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
E-mail or call your state legislators today and urge them to co-sponsor LRB-0728 – the TEA Grant Enhancement Act. Please feel free to use WEDA’s sample e-mail when contacting your lawmakers. All you have to do is cut-and-paste it into an e-mail. Please consider personalizing the e-mail to reference successful TEA Grant projects in your community.
If you don’t know who your state legislators are, or do not have their contact information, simply CLICK HERE and type your home address in the upper right corner text box. Remember to contact both your state senator and state representative.
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