Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced her 2024 Executive Capital Budget Tuesday afternoon, highlighting investments in affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure.
The proposal would allocate $266 million in federal and local spending to multiple large infrastructure, housing, public health and sustainability projects with a particular focus on the South Madison area around Park Street.
Proposed projects include new and expanded investments in mixed-income and affordable housing, construction of the Madison Public Library’s Imagination Center, reconstruction of bridges along John Nolen Drive and continued development of flood prevention and mitigation efforts.
Also among the proposals is $27 million for new housing, a new fire station and a new public health clinic on Park Street.
Rhodes-Conway made her announcement from the Black Business Hub, which is currently under construction on Park Street.
“We are investing $11 million to create 1,200 new units of housing, and together these projects will leverage millions in federal and state tax credits,” Rhodes-Conway said. “And connecting those two with each other and with the entire region will be the North-South Line of our bus rapid transit system.”
The mayor placed emphasis on her vision for a more sustainable city, with funding largely coming from clean energy tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act. This includes electrifying the bus system and installing solar power and geothermal systems at multiple facilities, including the city’s first purpose-built homeless shelter, according to a press release from the mayor's office.
The mayor also announced the city will continue development of public transportation, kick-starting plans for the North-South bus rapid transit line and re-imagining Park Street — “the gateway into the city” — as more pedestrian-friendly.
“We want people to feel welcomed, we want people to feel safe and like this is a center of activity, because there is a lot going on in South Madison,” Rhodes-Conway said.
The mayor said that while her budget places emphasis on the South Side of Madison, she is asking the city to invest in citywide infrastructure and programs.
Additionally, $5.1 million will be dedicated towards the mitigation of PFAS pollution in Well 15 — a major contaminated well on Madison’s north side — and $3 million will be invested in small businesses through the Equitable Recovery Program.
The budget also develops plans for a potential Amtrak service in Madison funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which identifies Madison as a “critical city” in its Midwest Rail Plan.
Large portions of funding for the budget come from federal funds and grants. On the state level, the Republican-controlled Legislature increased funding for the 2024 budget by less than 1% of the city’s 2023 budget.
Rhodes-Conway said Madison provides significant revenue to the state but does not receive enough financial support in return, especially since the city is projected to have around 400,000 residents by 2050 and has been running a budget deficit in recent years.
“Unfortunately, the city is held back by a state Legislature that does not believe in returning to Madison a fair portion of what our city's residents provide to the state in sales and income taxes,” she said. “After decades of declining state aid, we had hoped that a historic state budget surplus would result in increased support for the state's fastest growing city.”
Madison's rapid population growth requires the significant investment in the city’s housing and infrastructure outlined in her 2024 budget, Rhodes-Conway said.
“With these investments, we are continuing to build a better, greener and more resilient Madison,” Rhodes-Conway said.
The executive budget will be discussed at the city’s Finance Committee meeting on Sept. 11, and the Common Council can amend the budget before its vote for final approval on Nov. 14.