After sitting on it for more than a year, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is ready to do some serious legwork.
In January 2013, the state’s Transportation Finance and Policy Commission released a 162-page report on ways to increase funding for roads, bridges and other transportation projects. Now WisDOT is taking some of the recommendations out to the people, except for the one calling for a five-cent increase in the gas tax. Mark Gottlieb, secretary of WisDOT, said when the agency meets with the public between April 8 and May 21, he hopes alternative-funding mechanisms will be generated that will be long-lasting and fair to all motorists.
WisDOT estimates the state’s transportation fund is looking at a $600 million to $700 million deficit in the next budget period, and the commission said an additional $5.8 billion is needed over the next decade for Wisconsin to maintain the current system.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been cutting taxes in 2014. On March 24, he signed a measure that slashed income and property taxes, and he said he is open to exploring ways to elevate transportation funding as long as it does lead to an increase in the net tax burden.