State budget battle could impact Verona Road construction

Verona Road construction officially delayed, DOT says

Verona Road construction from County Road PD to Raymond Road, planned for 2016 to 2019, remains uncertain as lawmakers battle with Gov. Scott Walker to finalize a budget.

Walker has asked to borrow $1.3 billion, but lawmakers have called for reducing that by $800 million over the next two years.

While Department of Transportation officials would not speculate on the budget’s impact during an open house meeting Thursday, a department analysis earlier this year suggested cuts could delay the project by two years.

Verona Road driver Mary Thole worries about the potential impact.

“Verona Road is a very busy road. No wonder there’s accidents there,” Thole said. “If they don’t have money enough to improve it, yeah there’s going to be a problem.”

DOT officials have pushed for the construction project because of road congestion and crash numbers. However, some business owners like Brad Stevens said he would not mind seeing a delay for a couple of years, because a new exit would not allow his furniture design business to be seen.

“It allows me based on my debt structure to keep doing good business,” Stevens said. “Otherwise I’m going to have to relocate to the west side of Madison probably. And I know my debt’s going to be two to three times my existing rent.”

Walker said earlier this week he expected to finalize a budget deal soon. However, members of his own party say they are not so sure.