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Wisconsin Senate okays allowing ATC to build power lines out of state


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker will soon decide whether to let the American Transmission Company build new power lines outside of Wisconsin.

The State Senate voted 31-1 Tuesday in favor of the measure, after the Assembly okayed it on a voice vote.

The Senate’s only opponent, Middleton Democrat Jon Erpenbach, said it would not be a good deal for Wisconsin utility customers.

Walker’s office says the governor will review the bill before deciding whether to approve it. The state’s largest utilities own ATC. The Legislature created the firm 10 years ago to come up with a big picture for meeting the state’s future electric transmission needs.

At a recent hearing, one of the company’s vice presidents said ATC has come of age over the last decade, expanding its employment from 50 people to over 600. And by allowing out of state investments, the firm said it could add even more jobs.

ATC is planning to be part of a joint venture to take over the ownership of a line that links the electrical grids in northern and southern California. That same group is also considering a new 850-mile transmission line across four western states.