Skip to comments.Journal Times editorial: The time for toll roads has arrived in Wisconsin
Posted on 06/15/2017 10:10:55 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Now that the long Memorial Day holiday is over and legislators and the governor have returned from their road trips, we hope they have a better sense of the condition of highways around the state and a renewed sense of urgency on the need for upgrades and repairs.
The first order of business, it would seem to us, is to come to some agreement on a state transportation budget for the next two years. Hopefully, hopefully, when that is done they will also take a longer-term view of Wisconsins highway construction needs and how best they should be met and that should include taking the first steps toward implementing toll roads on our Interstate highway system.
That will not happen overnight it will require getting federal approval and it will incur capital costs of somewhere around $400 million, so it is all the more important to get that ball rolling down the highway right now.
In short order, it would create a new revenue stream to fund our transportation system that would bring in according to a Department of Transportation study an estimated $29 billion in revenue over 30 years.
Thats almost $1 billion a year and, coincidentally, that is almost double the $1 billion transportation deficit Wisconsin is facing in the current two-year budget crisis.
Yes, those costs would be borne by highway travelers. Depending on the toll rates and their setup, by some estimates the Interstate toll fee could cost a motorist between $2.72 and $8.16 to travel from Milwaukee to Madison. It could cost $5 to $15 to go from Milwaukee to La Crosse.
Thats a tax that would fall directly on those who are using the Interstate those who are creating the wear and tear that necessitates repair and replacement work. It would also cause the burden of those costs to be shared with travelers from out of state and not fall solely on Wisconsin drivers.
That apparently is not lost on state residents. According to a Marquette Law School poll, 56 percent of respondents to a statewide poll said they would be willing to accept tolling to pay for roads. No other source of road funding topped 40 percent.
Here in southeastern Wisconsin, we have implored, cajoled and pleaded for our Legislature and the governor to come to grips with the need to complete the reconstruction of I-94 from Milwaukee to the Illinois state line in order to support the rapidly expanding businesses along the Interstate corridor only to see delays.
Instead of righting the ship with short-term and long-term highway funding plans, the governor and the Legislature have been performing a horrifying vaudeville show laced with intransigence. Gov. Scott Walker favors borrowing and delays on projects to deal with the two-year budget needs and the $1 billion shortfall; Republicans in the Senate oppose raising the gas tax; Assembly Republicans put out a proposal last month to cut the gas tax, but impose sales taxes on gas and transition the state to a flat income tax rate.
Like a bad production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears over the past four months, we have been treated to a litany of Too Hot, Too Cold, Too This, Too That.
What is particularly amazing is that Republicans have their hands on the controls of the governors mansion and both the Senate and Assembly. Democrats are left outside, warbling about bringing back gas tax indexing.
Its summer. That means road construction season. The governor and the Legislature need to sit down, make some compromises on a short-term porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold for their tastes and then set sights on a long-term fix for the states transportation funding needs: toll roads.
Can’t wait until it costs ten times more money to cross the nation paying tolls, than it costs just to put gas in my car. /s
We are such a stupid people.
We pay gas taxes and then say, “Thank you very much!”, when they foist off toll road fees on us, when the gas taxes were supposed to pay for roads.
What did they do with the taxpayers money they collected to maintain or build these roads in the first place?
Wisconsin has never had toll roads.
It seems to me that’s as it should be. The taxpayers are still paying for these roads;not their fault that the money may be going into a slush fund.
How did they pay for the roads? Where is that money?
It’s the usual, ‘Socialist Short-Term Solution’ to a long-term problem THAT THEY CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Hey, Wisconsin Socialists? WHO raided our Transportation Fund time and time and time and time again to give YOU and your cohorts more $ for Union Teachers, funding Planned Parenthood, building BRIDGES TO NOWHERE, greasing palms for high speed rail - built by the Chinese?!?! How about all the money your STOLE from, ‘We The People’ to house, shelter, feed, buy smokes & booze for, and to register the HOMELESS to vote Democrat?
Where the F#CK were YOU when, ‘Diamond Jim’ Doyle was Governor for EIGHT YEARS? Why didn’t he wave his Magic Wand and FIX the roads for you then? Oh, that’s right! If you had been screaming about it, someone might have discovered all of the GOVERNMENT THEFT going on during that time!
SO tired of this! Yes, some of our roadways suck, but drive through any state and you’ll see the same.
But by-Gawd the Trains and Trolleys run on time, which pleases members of the Socialist Democrat Party in Madistan and Milwaukeestan!
See my Post/Rant #8...
Interesting timing...sounds like the Left has caught on and may now be supporting Trump’s tolling plans.
(and it does make sense from their perspective, as it will greatly reduce traffic...hence reduce Global Warming)
Maybe if they stopped building those stupid roundabouts in the middle of no where (yes, I am looking at all those in Wales), with the freeway-type signs, or changing all the stop and go lights to that stupid blinking yellow turn thing (who ever thought that one up?), or the bike lanes everywhere (like the ones in Waukesha that go one block, then stop for a right-turn lane, then start up again a block later), or the requirement that 10% of the construction costs be used on art (but the overpasses look so pretty with the various designs on them), or any of the other insane things, and instead used the gas tax on road construction and repairs only.
Oh boy, now you got me started. . .
Nope. No tolls.
Cant trust democrats to spend it on what its been collected for. The last democrat gov raided the entire transportation fund of 600 million to give to welfare and unions to balance his massive overspending in the general budgets.
It would merely just happen again. So no we do not set up another vehicle for them to do it with.
I follow news out of California via KFI John and Ken. It is horrible how they are stealing taxpayer money for slush funds, magic trains, pensions and invaders/illegals.
Every toll system is a money grubbing, ripoff and scam. By now, every bridge and turnpike was to have paid for itself. This is far from the case. Very little actually goes into maintenance and most goes to salaries of idiots who run the systems or authorities and other graft. The biggest thieves in our country are government and quasi-government.
That’s how liberal work, they scream until you give them money and then they go spend it on meth then land in the hospital complaining how expensive the services are and then ask for more money and then....
If they do, they’ll wish they had not.
Which could be said of most government ideas.
$29 billion stolen from the taxpayers.
Here are a few tidbits about Dems and their THIEVERY circa 2010:
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