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Bridge inspector Seitz

A state Department of Transportation inspector examines a bridge in La Crosse. The department announced Tuesday Bob Seitz will be its deputy secretary.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration, continuing a high-level shakeup of the state Department of Transportation, has named a former lobbyist for a high-profile mining company to the department's number-two position.

Shortly before Walker delivered Tuesday's State of the State Address, the DOT issued a news release announcing Bob Seitz will be its deputy secretary. He was tapped by Dave Ross, who succeeded Mark Gottlieb as the department's secretary this week.

Seitz is a former lobbyist and spokesman for Gogebic Mining, which proposed -- but withdrew -- a massive iron mine in northern Wisconsin.

Most recently, Seitz was executive assistant at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, as well as the commission's chief operating officer and advisor to its chairwoman.

The DOT shakeup follows the departure of Gottlieb, a former Republican state lawmaker and engineer who appeared, at times, to be at odds with Walker on transportation funding. The issue also is dividing statehouse Republicans heading into the 2017-2018 legislative session, when it's expected to be among the most contentious and high-profile issues in the crafting of the state's next budget.

Gottlieb had pushed for an infusion of funding for the state's transportation network, while Walker is vowing to hold the line on taxes and fees that likely would supply those funds. Weeks before announcing his resignation, Gottlieb told Assembly lawmakers that a transportation-funding blueprint such as the one Walker says he will propose for the next two years puts Wisconsin's roads and bridge on course to deteriorate badly during the next decade.

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Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.