UPDATE: Commission releases transportation report - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Commission releases transportation report

Posted:
MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's Transportation Finance and Policy Commission gave unanimous approval Wednesday to its final report that looks at ways to close the state's transportation funding gap, including a series of tax and fee increases.
 
The Commission's report, Keep Wisconsin Moving: Smart Investments, Measurable Results, shows the recommendations would generate about $479 million a year over the next 10 years across all modes of transportation.
 
According to the state Department of Transportation, recommended investments would provide the minimum amount needed to maintain existing road and bridge conditions, improve safety, provide limited highway modernization and facilitate some multi modal improvements.
 
Data compiled by the Commission shows continuing the status quo level of investment will worsen the condition and safety of state highways, increase urban highway congestion and reduce service levels for public transit.
 
Some of the Commission's recommendations to generate the revenue necessary to fund needed investments include:
  • Raising the state gas tax by five cents per gallon (the first increase since 2006).
  • Creating a new mileage-based registration fee for passenger vehicles
  • Increasing heavy truck registration fees
  • Increasing the fee for the state's eight-year drivers' license by $20
  • Eliminating the sales tax exemption on the trade-in value of vehicles.
The DOT says the Commission's funding plan would counteract the trend of declining revenue and the loss of purchasing power of the current transportation funding stream. Commission members noted the funding plan reflects a balanced approach with a continued emphasis on a "user pays" transportation system, where taxes and fees are proportional to use of the highway system.
 
If the Commission's recommendations are adopted, the impact on the average vehicle owner would be 33 cents per day, or about $120 a year. Wisconsin's transportation taxes and fees would also remain lower than those in the neighboring states of Minnesota and Iowa.
   
The recommendations are advisory in nature and would require further action before being implemented.

Transportation Finance and Policy Commission member John Antaramian of Kenosha said Wednesday it will be an uphill battle to get the recommendations approved. But he says lawmakers and Governor Scott Walker must look at the needs of the state and the importance available to address them.

Antaramian says he has faith policy makers will deal with the issue.

The Commission's complete report is on the DOT's website. The website also includes a summary brochure and narrated video on the recommendations.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's Transportation Finance and Policy Commission will release a report on Wednesday that will look at ways to close the state's transportation funding gap.

One option proposed is the mileage-based registration. It would apply to people who drive more than 3,000 miles per year.

It would add just over 1 cent per mile on top of the $75 dollars they pay each year to renew their license.

Drivers would have to document their annual mileage. The Commission is also expected to propose an increase in the gas tax.

Governor Scott Walker says he's against that idea.

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