The Latest: Audit faults Wisconsin Transportation Department

The Latest on Wisconsin Department of Transportation audit (all times local):

9:10 a.m.

A highly critical audit of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says the agency budgeted to complete more highway projects than could be done with the money available because it didn’t take into account inflation and unexpected cost increases.

The much anticipated Legislative Audit Bureau report also says the department could have done more to control engineering, construction and maintenance costs and it is not consistently using performance measures to improve its operations.

The report comes as the department faces a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall. Gov. Scott Walker has insisted on solving that without raising taxes or fees, while Assembly Republicans have called for $300 million in increases offset by unnamed tax cuts elsewhere.

The audit says the cost of 16 ongoing major highway projects increased more than $3 billion from the time they were approved to August 2016.


8:50 a.m.

A long-awaited audit of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is about to be released.

The report from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau was to be released at 9 a.m. Thursday. Lawmakers were briefed on the audit Wednesday night.

The audit comes as Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature are grappling with how to deal with a nearly $1 billion transportation budget shortfall. Walker has pledged to solve it with more borrowing and roadwork delays.

But Assembly Republicans are calling for $300 million in transportation-related tax and fee increases along with corresponding tax cuts elsewhere.

Walker’s transportation secretary Mark Gottlieb resigned effective Jan. 6 as the audit was pending.