Federal funds and bus rapid transit project help fuel Madison’s biggest capital improvement budget in 2022

MADISON, Wisconsin – In the city’s largest capital improvement budget *, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced a $ 355 million plan for 2022 that emphasized affordable housing , improving small businesses, sustainability and one of its highest priority projects: rapid transit by bus.

With federal money for BRT as well as help with the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan more than doubles the current year’s $ 166 million plan – a budget hit hard by the pandemic and lower than the 2020 capital budget of $ 173 million.

The capital improvement budget represents one of the city’s two key budgets, with the operational budget due to be finalized in October, before council approval.

“This budget is part of making the Madison we imagine: an innovative, inclusive and prosperous city,” said Rhodes-Conway. “Our economy continues to recover, but many of our residents continue to be affected by the effects of the pandemic on their jobs, housing and economic security.”

Bus rapid transit fuels most of the budget

The increase is largely fueled by the $ 166 million first phase of the new bus rapid transit system, which is slated to go into service in 2024 and uses significant federal government funding, of which $ 142 million is included. in next year’s capital budget. The five-year plan announced today includes a new investment of $ 4 million in 2023 for a BRT North-South line, in addition to an East-West line that is expected to be under construction soon.

Other transport related projects also include:

  • Reconstruction of Atwood and University avenues
  • Reconstruction of the John Nolen promenade bridges
  • Amtrak’s proposed return to Madison

Affordable housing, small business opportunities, sustainability

Other significant parts of the budget include an investment of $ 42 million to increase affordable housing options in Madison, and an additional $ 20 million for consumer loan programs to help people become homeowners.

Growth of the Small Business Equity and Recovery program, including the Commercial Building Ownership program, will amount to $ 500,000 per year over the next five years to support women, people of color and other under-represented entrepreneurs , the city said.

Sustainability efforts are a big part of the budget, including:

  • Electric vehicles for the Public Works Department
  • Converting all city street lights to LEDs
  • Increased funding for the MadiSUN solar program

The next six years will invest $ 314.3 million in environmental and sustainable projects and programs, representing 26% of the city’s capital improvement plan.

The taxpayer increases

The budget includes $ 22 million more borrowings than the 2021 capital budget, for a total of $ 142 million. The city’s finance director, David Schmiedicke, said this would mainly be reimbursed from the city’s property tax and other sources, which are part of the operating budget.

Next year’s budget will also be the first to provide services to the City of Madison, which will be fully absorbed by the City of Madison by October 2022.


* While previous investment budgets reflected amounts in excess of $ 355 million, the city’s finance director noted that a change in 2020 means that budgets now only reflect new projects, with carry-over credits being indicated in a separate calendar. Previous budgets combined these two elements.


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