Mar 26, 201912:06 PMTransportation Matters
with Debby Jackson
Transportation funding — Pay now, or pay more later
(page 2 of 2)
TDA has spent the last three years traveling the state as part of the Just Fix It campaign talking to people about transportation conditions and the impact in their communities. We have seen bridges fail and main streets in poor shape. We have heard from businesses about the impact of road conditions on fleet maintenance and the need to connect employees to employers with better public transportation. We have engaged commuters on social media and read their stories about bent rims and front-end alignments.
There is widespread consensus something needs to be done to fix our transportation problem. Now for the tough part: we need to agree on HOW to fix the problem.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is on record supporting a 5-cent gas tax increase and a modest increase to registration fees, historically $25 for cars and light trucks. The interesting thing about this proposal is that it generates roughly the same amount of revenue a biennium as the governor’s proposal.
So, coming to consensus and taking the first step to stop the further decline of the system should be doable.
Debate about various funding mechanisms may dominate the discussion in the Capitol and the press, but it is important to remember what this is really about. This is about taking care of a transportation system that supports Wisconsin’s economy and enhances the quality of life for everyone in Wisconsin.
For around $4 a month in additional fees from users of the system — about the cost of a large gourmet coffee — Wisconsin can stabilize highway conditions, give more support to local governments for roads and public transportation, and reduce the the percentage of user fee dollars going to service the debt.
Will it completely solve the problem? Probably not, but it is an important first step.
It took us more than a decade to arrive in this spot. It would be unrealistic to expect to solve it overnight.
But we know one thing with certainty — that $4 won’t go as far in the future.
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