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Area lawmaker wants to make communities pay for decorative DOT work


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Local communities would cover the cost of aesthetic improvements for highway projects under Wisconsin's Community Sensitive Design program, under a bill proposal by a local representative.

Kaukauna Republican Jim Steineke says he'll introduce the plan on Tuesday. It removes the state Department of Transportation's ability to add landscaping and other aesthetic improvements to state road projects.

The DOT is spending about $21 million on landscaping, decorative concrete and murals on overpasses and bridges on the U.S. Highway 41 project in Brown and Winnebago counties. Total estimated cost of the project is $1.6 billion.

Steineke says it's not fair for taxpayers in other parts of the state to pay for what he says are purely aesthetic improvements to projects in our area. 

DOT officials say it works with local communities on the Community Sensitive Design program. They also say the project strikes a balance between enhancing a project for communities without going overboard.