WisDOT announces criteria for $75 million local government grant program

​Release date: September 5, 2019

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is providing funding through a one-time grant program designed to address critical transportation needs throughout Wisconsin. The $75 million Multimodal Local Supplement grant program is available to local and tribal governments.

“The objective of this program is to provide local officials the flexibility and funding they need to address the transportation projects that are most needed in their communities,” Governor Tony Evers said. “The MLS program gives counties, towns, villages, and cities the opportunity to apply to fund multimodal projects that will provide significant economic impacts for their community.”

The project selection process will include local government committees. The selection will be competitive and involve stakeholder input and review. Projects will rate higher if they demonstrate economic impact, provide greater connectivity or are shown to have greater cost-effectiveness than other options.

“The MLS grant program is designed to address a range of possible projects and puts the decision-making in the hands of the locals,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said.

Application materials for the $75 million Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) grant program are available on the department’s website. The MLS program mirrors aspects of the Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) but is available to an expanded range of project improvement types.

The program was developed with input from local government stakeholders to ensure it is efficient and funds projects fairly. Local government associations reacted positively to the announcement:

  • “This year, in addition to an increase in General Transportation Aids and transit aids, the State has included a one-time allotment of general state revenues to help out even more. This money will be put to good use in cities and villages throughout Wisconsin.”

Jerry Deschane, Executive Director
League of Wisconsin Municipalities

  • “The Wisconsin County Highway Association looks forward to working with WisDOT to address critical needs on the local system. This program is designed to generate efficiencies and directly impact the local system and local governments.”

Dan Fedderly, PE, PLS, Executive Director
Wisconsin County Highway Association

  • “Healthy town economies require contemporary infrastructure.  The local supplement program will provide another step toward building the roads and bridges necessary for improved public safety and enhanced private sector success.”
    Mike Koles, Executive Director
    Wisconsin Towns Association

Kaukauna lift bridge repairs approved through MLS program

“Together with our local government partners and legislators, we’ve determined that an ideal project for MLS funding is to make repairs to the lift bridge in Kaukauna,” Thompson said.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued an order for the lift bridge to be operational by May 2021. This project will open access to the nearly 40-mile-long Fox River Lock System to motorboats, canoes, kayaks and commercial boats. The system links Lake Winnebago to the Fox River Valley, through the Bay of Green Bay to the ports of the Great Lakes.

The MLS program will provide 80 percent of the $2.2 million needed to make the repairs.

Program highlights

  • MLS application materials are available on the WisDOT website
  • The program is focused on local project delivery. Local units of government may apply for design and construction, or construction only, projects. 
  • Grants are available for new projects throughout the state. 
  • Local and tribal governments are eligible for the funding. 
  • The minimum project cost for counties, cities, and villages is $250,000.
  • The minimum project cost for towns is $50,000.
  • The program will reimburse local governments up to 90 percent of total eligible costs; the local sponsor provides the balance.
  • A six-year project completion will be required for approved projects.
  • The deadline for applications is 5 p.m., Friday, December 6, 2019.

Eligible funds will be split as indicated below:

AllocationCountyCity/VillageTownTotal
Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS)$26,669,333$19,039,500$29,291,167$75,000,000

After Kaukauna Bridge allocation

$26,082,667$18,452,832$28,704,501$73,240,000


Other MLS project awards will be announced in early 2020.

WisDOT plans to conduct webinars in late September and early October to provide an overview of the program and answer questions.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov