Wisconsin railroad gate provision almost gets through budget

Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-16 16:34:36-04

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A novice Wisconsin legislator almost has had one of his first provisions signed into law, which would've installed a railroad crossing on a road near his home.

Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, proposed adding in a railroad gate crossing on a road in Winnebago County after hearing safety concerns from his neighbors. Tusler, a 33-year-old attorney who was elected to the Legislature in November, said he believes that accidents have occurred at the crossing.

The Legislature's budget committee added in the earmark for the railroad to the state budget, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported . But Republicans removed the provision from the budget in a floor amendment Wednesday after questions about the railroad crossing arose.

Tusler said he's unsure how the provision was included in the budget because no one was pushing for it. He said he'd thought it had been dead for months.

"You've got me," Tusler said. "I have no idea why they included it."

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, is also unsure of how the earmark got into the budget draft.

Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, said she wasn't aware that the railroad crossing was near Tusler's home.

"It certainly seems fishy to me that this railroad crossing came in and out of the budget," she said. "It raises more questions than answers."

Tusler said he may look into how the earmark was included into the budget.

"Perhaps but I'm not going to throw them under the bus," he said.