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Report: Wisconsin towns short-changed on road funding

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A new report says Wisconsin counties and towns are being shortchanged on state highway funding -- and it's causing real problems in maintaining local roads. The Wisconsin Towns Association says the local share of state road aids dropped from 36-percent in 1993, to 24-percent in the current state budget which ends in mid-2015.

The group's attorney, former state Senator Tom Harnisch, said he found a trend over the past several years -- in which the state has shifted funds from local roads to state highways and facilities, mainly in urban areas. Harnisch says one reason is the state's tighter taxing limits on local governments, which has made it harder to spend money on upgrading roads. In the meantime he says rural Wisconsin is "becoming industrialized" -- and many rural roads were never designed to handle the increases in logging, frac-sand mining, and agricultural activities.

Harnisch's report comes as state D-O-T officials consider ways to raise more revenue for highways and other forms of transportation.