MADISON, Wis. -- A bill that would make non-state roadways, like La Crosse's Bliss Road, eligible for more state and federal funding has passed the Wisconsin Legislature.
The bill introduced by Rep. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) and Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) changes eligibility standards for the State Scenic Byways program.
Only state and federal roadways in Wisconsin are currently eligible, leaving many city, town and county roads unable to apply for funding for upkeep and promotion of roads for tourism.
BIllings says the legislation was drafted after discussions with La Crosse County, Town of Shelby and city of La Crosse officials following recent closures to Bliss Road due to washouts.
A washout in 2010 closed Bliss Road for more than a year and cost almost a half a million dollars to fix. Bliss Road is a key route for people trying to get to the Garndad Bluff scenic overlook and for residents living on bluff.
"This may seem like a small change, but if signed into law, it can lead to tourism dollars for our area, which is important for our local economy," Billings said after the Assembly vote Tuesday.
"Investing in infrastructure and preserving scenic byways will build upon our area's reputation as a tourist destination and help boost our local economy," Shilling says.
The bill now heads to Gov. Scott Walker signature for a signature. A spokesperson says Gov. Walker will evaluate the final version of the bill when it reaches his desk.