Evers budget restores eminent domain for bike trails

Tony Evers
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Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal would restore local governments’ power to seize private property for bike and recreational trails.

Republican lawmakers added to the budget a prohibition on local government and state agencies using eminent domain powers to establish or extend bike trails, recreational trails and sidewalks into the last state budget.

That came at the request of state Rep. Rob Stafsholt. He says he was trying to ensure that St. Croix County officials couldn’t seize land from property owners for a recreational trail along a county highway.

Cyclists and municipalities say the prohibition has slowed work on more than a dozen bike trails around the state. Some Republicans also say the prohibition is causing problems for municipalities looking to build sidewalks.

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