Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson gave Republicans a stockpile of political ammunition Thursday when he told reporters state transportation money redirected by a Gov. Tony Evers veto could be used on transit projects such as the Milwaukee streetcar. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald reflexively tweeted that rural Democrats should join Republicans in a veto override, signaling the issue will be at play in the 2020 elections. It's unclear whether any of the $75 million will end up going to what Fitzgerald called the "trolley to nowhere" — Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, even told Kelly Meyerhofer he was OK with the money being used for other purposes in cities so long as towns and villages get their share as Republicans intended — but the episode was another display of the Milwaukee vs. rest-of-Wisconsin divide.
Welcome to Capital W, where you can find the week’s best political stories from the Wisconsin State Journal:
- The search is on for a new Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO. Hey, remember when Gov. Scott Walker appointed Reed Hall to be WEDC CEO even though he wasn't one of the 120 people who applied, and then it turned out there were all kinds of problems at the agency? Good times.
- Walker, by the way, has taken himself out of the running for 2022 with a new job leading a national conservative youth organization. There was speculation he could run for governor again or U.S. Senate, but also indications some Republicans were looking to move on.
- Riley Vetterkind reported Sunday on how doubling the funding for county juvenile jail facilities to $80 million might still not be enough to address the future closing of the troubled Lincoln Hills youth prison.
- And Chris Hubbuch reported on how the petroleum vs. biofuels political battle is coming to Wisconsin. It's noteworthy especially because it includes the phrase "a fight to the knife."
Send story tips and ideas to state/politics editor Matt DeFour at email@example.com or (608) 252-6144.