Democrats concerned Alliant Energy Center project not funded under GOP building project


MADISON, Wis. - The state's budget committee plans on funding more than 40 new state building projects around Wisconsin, including some of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's most well known landmarks. But Democrats are concerned about what's not being funded.

The Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Finance passed a $1.9 billion plan Tuesday evening, stripping more than $600 million from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' $2.5 billion capital budget plan.

Rep. Mark Born, a Republican from Beaver Dam who's on the committee called the plan a "major investment."

"The focus should be investing in state facilities. They're our responsibility whether they be on the UW campus or in agencies, and this budget certainly makes major investments in those areas," Born said.

Evers announced his plans in March to provide $30 million for the expansion of the Alliant Energy Center. Rep. Chris Taylor said she was "disappointed" that the expansion project wasn't included in the GOP plan.

"This (project) really could have raised our profile in some really important areas," Taylor said.

Born said as part of the plan, local governments will be able to apply for funding for building projects, opening up the door for projects such as the Alliant Energy Center expansion.

Republicans who crafted the plan did include funding for many of the projects in Evers' proposal, particularly for the University of Wisconsin System. Those include spending $77.6 million to renovate Camp Randall Stadium and $48 million to renovate the Kohl Center.

UW System President Ray Cross issued a statement saying he appreciated the committee's investment in the universities' infrastructure.

"This will help us modernize laboratories and classrooms, repair aging and unsafe facilities, and replace obsolete structures. This long-term investment will help attract and retain more students and faculty," Cross said.

There's also funding for a number of other building projects in Dane County, including Mendota Mental Health Institute and funding for a new Wisconsin Historical Society Museum on the Capitol square.