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Timeline of State Highway Commission
100th anniversary of State Highway Commission
- 1908 – Wisconsin voters amend the state’s constitution, allowing state government to appropriate funds for highway improvements.
- June 14, 1911 - Wisconsin Governor Francis McGovern signs what would become Chapter 337 of the 1911 Wisconsin Session Laws establishing a part time, five-member State Highway Commission to oversee a $350,000 annual state highway appropriation.
- June 27, 1911 - Governor McGovern appoints State Highway Commission members: John Van Doren of Birnamwood (6-year term); John Owen of Eau Claire (4-year term); John Hazelwood of Jefferson (2-year term), and two ex-officio members: State Geologist, William Hotchkiss and Frederick Turneaure, Dean of the College of Engineering.
- July 17, 1911 - State Highway Commission meets for the first time. John Hazelwood elected Chairman.
- 1912 - State Highway Commission establishes the “Wisconsin Road School” to annually gather county highway commissioners, municipal officials, road contractors and others to identify best practices in highway construction and maintenance
- 1912 – Wisconsin counties and towns request $800,000 in state aid for roadways ($450,000 more than available).
- 1913 – Wisconsin Legislature authorizes seven transportation division offices: Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Ashland.
- 1916 - Federal Aid Road Act provides funding for the development of paved roads.
- 1917 - The 5,000 mile state trunk highway system is established. First Wisconsin roadmap is produced.
- 1918 - Wisconsin develops uniform highway classification and numbering system which is later adopted nationally.
- 1923 – Wisconsin Legislature authorizes a two-cent-per-gallon tax on motor vehicle fuel to construct or maintain highways (Governor John Blaine vetoes the bill on June 28, 1923).
- 1925 – State Highway Fund established. Includes two-cent-per-gallon motor vehicle fuel tax, vehicle registration fees and federal aid allotted to the state.
- 1926 – Wisconsin transportation revenue for state fiscal year ending June 30, 1926 totals $15.2 million ($4.9 million in fuel tax, $8.4 million in vehicle registration fees, and $1.9 million in federal aid).
- 1929 - Legislature abolishes the original, five-member, part-time State Highway Commission and creates a full-time, three-member Commission.
- 1967 - Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is created by merging the Aeronautics Commission, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Highways.
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Last modified: April 12, 2011
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