Week of November 17, 2014

WCA Commends Feds for Approval of Madison-Reedsburg Rail Line Purchase

The Wisconsin Counties Association is commending last week's approval of a 70-mile stretch of rail line from Madison to Reedsburg, as well as Reedsburg to Cottage Grove, by the federal Surface Transportation Board.

"This decision to approve the rail line purchase will help strengthen not only the communities impacted, but also the entire state," said WCA Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell. "Businesses in our counties rely on freight rail for their success and the purchase of this segment of rail will be help to grow our economy here in Wisconsin."

Read the full media release the Madison-Reedsburg Rail Line Purchase.
Local Government Groups: 2015-2017 Transportation Budget Offers Comprehensive Plan that Addresses State and Local Needs

As an agricultural, tourist and manufacturing state, Wisconsin's economy is heavily dependent on a healthy transportation system.  Without significant investment in this network, our state's economic potential is limited at best.

On November 14, 2014, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb submitted a 2015-2017 Transportation Budget that recognizes this fact. His proposal takes steps towards addressing Wisconsin's transportation needs both today and into the future.

With an expected $682 million funding shortfall going into the next budget cycle, WisDOT's transportation budget would fill in this gap and provide sustainable revenue for budgets in the future.

"Transportation has been one of Governor Walker's core priorities since taking office. This budget addresses our state and local transportation needs by outlining a long-term sustainable approach," said Wisconsin Counties Association Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell.
Read the full media release from WCA, The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and The Wisconsin Towns Association here.
WisDOT Transportation Proposal Summary

On Friday November 14, 2014 the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) submitted its budget request to the Governor for consideration. 

WCA Government Affairs Associate Daniel Bahr and Wisconsin County Highway Association Executive Director Daniel Fedderly have issued a summary of the budget as proposed. 

Read the full transportation budget summary document here.
WCA President Willie Johnson, Jr. Featured in November Wisconsin Counties Magazine

Cover photo by Patrick Flood Photography.

Our November issue of Wisconsin Counties proudly features an in-depth look at WCA President Willie Johnson, Jr., the first African American President in the Association's history.

Read the full article on WCA President Willie Johnson, Jr. here.

Upcoming Event: "At Our Doorstep: Local Government's Demographics Challenge and Implications for Counties and Communities"  Teleconference on Monday, December 1, 2014. 

The demographics of the United States are undergoing the most dramatic change in our nation's history. People are living longer and needing more services, baby boomers are retiring in large numbers, and millennials are attempting to fill the void. Coupled with challenges such as healthcare, transportation, and the funding of government, the future of local government is uncertain, tumultuous, or both. 

This teleconference presented by Mark O' Connell, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Counties Association and Dan Veroff, UW-Extension Outreach Specialist with the Applied Population Lab will focus on "mega trends" and their implications for local governments.   

In partnership with the Wisconsin Towns Association, the Wisconsin League of Municipalities and the Wisconsin Counties Association the University of Wisconsin - Extension Local Government Center is hosting a five part teleconference series titled "Current Issues Affecting Local Officials." These programs were designed to provide unbiased information on the key issues facing local government officials. 

The teleconference on Changing Demographics and Implications for Local Government will be held on Monday, December 1st from 10AM-11AM. 

For more information on the entire series please visit here. 

Who are WCA Associate Members?

The role and relationship of government with the private sector has changed in recent years. The creation of the WCA Associate Member Program is one more way WCA is reaching out to bring together the public and private sectors.

The WCA Associate Member Program helps to foster the critical and growing relationship between government and business. We believe that helping to nurture a strong partnership with private businesses and organizations will prove to be beneficial to all of Wisconsin.

WCA Associate Members include:

American Transmission Company, LLC
Discover Mediaworks
General Motors  
Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

We encourage you to learn more about our WCA Associate Members by clicking here

For more information about this program please contact WCA Marketing and Events Manager Cheryl Fleck at 866.404.2700.    
WCA Commends Feds for Approval of Madison-Reedsburg Rail Line Purchase
Local Government Groups Statement on Transportation Budget
WisDOT Proposal Summary by WCA and WCHA
WCA President Willie Johnson, Jr. Highlighted in November Magazine
Upcoming Event: Local Government Teleconference
Learn More About WCA Associate Members

The 2015 WCA Annual Conference will be held in La Crosse County September 20-22, 2015.

To learn more about being an event sponsor or exhibitor for the 2015 event, click here.

For questions, please contact WCA Marketing and Events Manager Cheryl Fleck at the WCA office at 866.404.2700 or via email at fleck@wicounties.org.

Following the recent election, WCA Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell recorded a short video message on moving forward into the next biennium and the readiness of counties to take on the challenges of the years ahead.

Watch the Mark D. O'Connell video here and be sure to follow WCA's YouTube channel. 


The Wisconsin Counties Association is currently working to get a solid county curriculum into our schools so today's youth understand what it is that counties do in their communities.

In that vein, the 2014 WCA Annual Conference Video, shown in September in Sauk County, focused on conversations with young people about the role of local government in their lives and their level of understanding of the services that counties provide.

Watch the Mark D. O'Connell video here and be sure to follow WCA's YouTube channel. 


Join the Wisconsin Clean Cities Alliance as they celebrate 20 Years of "Driving Wisconsin Forward!" at their Annual Stakeholder Meeting & Wisconsin Smart Fleet Banquet on Tuesday, December 9th at the Miller Park Johnson Controls Stadium Club from 1:30 PM - 8:00 PM CST. 

Register for the WCC event here.

If you haven't already, be sure to "Like" the Wisconsin Counties Association on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @wiscounties.

For questions on social media, contact Michelle Gormican Thompson at WCA at 866.404.2700 or onsite at 608.577.9405.