Lawmakers question road contracts with frac sand companies - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Lawmakers question road contracts with frac sand companies

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Western Wisconsin (WQOW) - Two area lawmakers call frac sand mining an "economic powerhouse in the region" and then question a county highway department about how it's handling the businesses behind it.

Wood County wants frac sand companies to sign contracts that charge them to use its roads.  The county came up with a per mile, per ton fee it would apply.

In Chippewa County, there are road use agreements in place that require companies to pay for repairs when there's damage.  Senator Terry Moulton and Representative Scott Suder are taking issue with the plan in Wood County that would charge companies to maintain the roads in that county.  They sent a letter to the county highway commissioner with a series of questions, concerned about what they called a potential negative impact these agreements could have on jobs.

For example, the lawmakers ask if these agreements take into account the job creation, property tax revenue and local investments the frac sand companies are putting into Wood County.  This was the response from Wood County Highway Commissioner Douglas Passineau, "Yes, very much so.  The agreements also recognize that if the state allocates any of its huge transportation budget to support this regional economic development, that there will be a charge offset for the frac sand companies."

The county is calling for these contracts to take effect next month.  Passineau called for a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday.

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