County looking at more aid for highway system

Luke Reimer

The Shawano County Board of Supervisors passed a request of additional funding from a Wisconsin budgetary surplus for the Shawano County Highway Department during its March 22 meeting.

“This is a standard resolution that came from the Wisconsin County Highway Association,” said Shawano County Highway Commissioner Grant Bystol. “They are trying to get counties to send this in as a request to the state of Wisconsin to use a portion of the 2023 budget surplus to put it towards the rural highway system.”

Bystol went on to explain that the Wisconsin County Highway Association is urging the state of Wisconsin to put money into the county highway department, as opposed to putting all of the money into the state roads.

“This resolution will urge to give money back to the county highway department, so we have more money for county road maintenance verses all of the budget surplus going back into state roads construction or maintenance,” said Bystol. “We are trying to get a few extra dollars into our general transportation aids.”

According to Bystol, the general transportation aids are what the Shawano County Highway Department uses to maintain the county road system, including County Roads A, M, BE, K and MMM.

“So, we are just asking for a little more money to be pumped into the county system,” said Bystol.

Due to rising costs, Bystol said that there is a strong need in the county for the surplus money.

“The cost of everything has drastically increased over the years, and our general transportation aids has been relatively flat and has not really seen much of an increase in well over 10 years,” said Bystol. “If you look at the cost of fuel, the cost of materials, labor, everything — that has gone up, but our overall general transportation aids has not increased.”

In terms of what the highway department would use the money for, Bystol said that it would go to asphalt resurfacing.

“Basically resurfacing more miles within the county,” said Bystol.