April 25, 2014

Petrowski says toll roads not on the horizon

The incoming chairman of the state Senate’s Transportation Committee doesn’t expect toll roads to happen in Wisconsin anytime soon. Sen. Jerry Petrowksi cites the federal government hasn’t granted authority to the state to set up such a system. “I don’t think you’re going to see any of that in the state of Wisconsin for now,” he says.

There has been discussion lately about Wisconsin implementing toll roads to deal with the rising cost of road projects as less money is coming into the transportation fund. With higher efficiency vehicles and people driving less, fewer dollars are going into the state fund from its major source, the gas tax.

There were also comments in the media last year about auto owners paying license fees based on how many miles they drive.  Petrowski compares that to getting another tax bill: “You can imagine how painful property taxes are. Well guess what if you got a bill for the miles you drove at the end of the year that would not be want people want to see either.”

The freshman Petrowski, who previously served in the Assembly, also plans to reintroduce his proposal to protect the state transportation fund by constitutional amendment, to prevent raiding the fund for other purposes. The plan was passed once by lawmakers and needs to pass again before citizens statewide can vote on it to become an amendment.

Larry Lee-WSAU contributed to this report