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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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a.MKE The List: Congress Passes Payroll Tax Cut & Constructions Begins at the Airport Spur : Today’s Top Stories

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Reconstruction is set to start on the westbound part of the airport spur at 6 a.m. on Monday morning. State Department of Transportation Officials say that the $20 million project will shut down the westbound lanes from south Howell Avenue to I-43 until late fall. This means drivers leaving the airport will have to exit on south Howell Avenue and use either Howard avenue or College avenue to get to 43 or 94. This work is part of a larger project to rebuild I-94 from Milwaukee’s south side to the Illinois state line.

Over the weekend, Congress approved legislation renewing a payroll tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for millions more. From there, the bill was sent to President Obama. Under the bill, workers would continue to receive a two percentage point increase in their paychecks, and people out of work for more than six months would keep jobless benefits averaging about $300 a week. President Obama says, “these steps will help support the fragile recovery from the worst economic downturn since the great depression.”

Governor Walker was denied more time to review the signatures on recall petitions against him. Dane County judge Richard Niess said the court already gave Walker 30 days longer than other recall candidates received. This means that Governor Walker must submit any challenges by Monday, February 27th. In order to force a recall election against Walker, more than 540,000 valid signatures are needed.

A Public Service Commission recently made a decision on who should pay the costs of moving their lines out of the way of the planned Milwaukee streetcar route. The commission ruled that Milwaukee power companies will be covered but telecommunications companies will not. Utilities have estimated it could cost more than $55 million to move their lines out of the way for the route. The streetcar line is estimated to $64 million, which doesn’t include utility costs, which means city officials would have to change the route or scale back the project if the city must bear all or part of the utility costs. 

Construction on Milwaukee’s first wind turbine started over the weekend. The turbine will sit just north of the Port Administration building near the U.S. Coast guard station in Bay View. Once completed, the turbine will power the entire admin building and the energy produced is expected to save Milwaukee nearly $20,000 a year. The turbine is expected to be finished by March 1st.

This morning Saz’s catering is set to deliver a big check to the Hunger Task Force. It’s from a two-month promotion called “Saz’s Gives Back Program”. They pledged to donate 5% of last December and January’s food and beverage sales to the Hunger Task Force, and the final total from the program is being delivered this morning at 10:30.