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Transportation task force considering 10 cent gas tax increase

MADISON (WKOW) — A 34-member  bipartisan task force created by Gov. Evers will soon deliver a proposal on how to fund road repairs and other transportation needs in Wisconsin.

Robb Kahl, who also serves as the Executive Director of Construction Business Group, said a starting point for short term revenue generation could hike the gas tax up to 10 cents per gallon.  He said the raise is frequently used during task force discussions but also believes it won’t be enough for a sustainable revenue source.

“Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald said it’s not (enough), it would raise about $330 million a year and it’s not enough, but it’s a start,” said Kahl.

He said other discussions with task force members include increasing registration fees.

“There’s a lot of things being discussed on the table and what we’re encouraged by is everyone understands the imminency and urgency here,” said Kahl.

Kahl said a 10 cent raise would cost the average driver about $54 a year or $4.50 a month. (based on someone driving 12,000 miles/year and using 545 gallons/year).

The current gas tax in Wisconsin is 32.9, compared to other neighboring states; Illinois (37.32) Michigan (44.13) and Indiana (42.9). The transportation fund puts revenues into a separate account apart from the general revenue fund. The most state revenue comes from the gas tax about 56% to pay for highways, rail, and transit.

This week, legislative leaders held a discussion at the Wisconsin Counties Association where some signaled support for tolling. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said it’s an idea worth exploring but raising the gas tax alone won’t be enough.

Kahl, along with other Democrats, believes tolling would take years to implement and the state needs a solution now. He’s optimistic, as is the task force, this will be the year a solution doesn’t ring hollow.

“Having a Democratic governor and a Republican legislator will actually force the discussion to come to a conclusion.”

Governor Evers said in the past he would take the task force recommendation and include it in his first state budget which is expected to be complete by the end of the month.

Kahl said in the next 10 days the task force will deliver its recommendations. Evers has said previously he would include the task force’s recommendation in his first state budget.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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