Wisconsin Eases Way to Spend State Funds on Foxxconn Roads

December 19, 2017

The Associated Press and Wisconsin State Journal report that Wisconsin has converted - on paper, at least - local roads around the Foxconn site from generic roads to state highways so the state can access money set aside for state road improvements.

In a memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, changing the road classification could pull $134 million from other highway projects in Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker's spokesman, Tom Evenson , said most of the costs would be offset by savings from other highway projects that are completed ahead of schedule. He said the state has freed up more than $100 million for additional highway projects through cost savings and revenues that were better than anticipated.

Fiscal bureau analyst John Wilson-Tepeli said in the memo that "the use of state highway rehabilitation funding to complete this work near the Foxconn site would likely result in the delay of other, previously planned rehabilitation projects on state highways."

However, Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh voiced concern about the move, citing the lack of " transparency, accountability and credibility on this project." The Foxconn agreement with the state includes the Taiwan-based company to foot the bill for infrastructure improvements. Hintz does not want the rest of Wisconsin to lose $134 in rehab funding in order to pay for the Foxconn project.   The Foxconn $10 billion complex will employee 13,000 people when complete.

Attorneys for Foxconn, Mount Pleasant and Racine County also announced last week that the company would likely deposit a $60 million developer advance into an escrow account by Friday. The money is intended to pay for the acquisition of land in areas slated for future Foxconn expansion or company suppliers. The developers agreement signed by the company and local officials had required the company to make the deposit by Dec. 15.

“Foxconn has the $60 million of funds available for deposit, as required by the Development Agreement. We are now working with the title company to establish the required Escrow Account. The funds will be deposited into the Escrow Account, as soon as it is established, which we anticipate before December 22,” the three attorneys said in a statement.