The Legislature's budget committee has adopted parts of the state Department of Transportation's plan to close a $63.5 million deficit in the state's roads fund.
The DOT's proposal would revise Gov. Scott Walker's executive budget to delay segments of Milwaukee-area freeway reconstruction, cut funding for highway projects and cut local road aids.
The Republican-controlled committee worked around the edges of the deficit Tuesday, adopting parts of DOT's plan that call for reducing funding for congestion mitigation and scaling back the state's contract with Amtrak to run a Milwaukee-to-Chicago passenger rail line to reflect cost re-estimates.
The committee also deleted budget provisions that would have added nearly 30 more State Patrol inspectors and safety investigators.
Committee leaders say they'll deal with the rest of the shortfall in the coming weeks.
New estimates show Wisconsin's transportation fund is headed for a $63.5 million deficit by mid-2015.
The transportation fund covers highway projects, provides road aids for local government and funds the Division of Motor Vehicles and the State Patrol. It consists largely of gas taxes and vehicle registration fees.
Gov. Scott Walker's two-year budget proposal estimated the fund would end mid-2015 $12.6 million in the black. But new data from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows gas taxes are expected to drop sharply over the biennium.
The Legislature's finance committee is set to take up the transportation portion of Walker's budget on Tuesday. The new estimates mean the panel may have to decide between delaying road work, increasing borrowing, shifting more tax dollars to the fund or increasing gas taxes to fill the hole.