The Department of Transportation says proposed fee hikes included in its next biennium budget are needed to meet the growing demands of Wisconsin's roads. A proposal sent to the governor includes increasing vehicle registration fees to $80 for cars and also includes an extra ten dollar fee for a driver's license, bringing the fee up to $34. Spokesman Casey Newman says the extra costs are the result of the DOT having plenty of projects to work on, but not enough money to cover them.
Newman says the fee increase for a driver's license will help cover the cost of implementing a new federal requirement to check for US citizenship before issuing a license. It's expected to cost the state nearly $20 million to get Real ID up and running.
Many lawmakers have already been very vocal about the proposal. State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) says the DOT needs to do a better job accounting for the money that's being spent right now.
Meanwhile, State Representative Dave Travis (D-Westport) says higher fees aren't likely to be approved. The Westport Democrat says repeal of the automatic gas tax increase has put the state's Transportation Fund in “dire jeopardy.”
The fee increases are far from official though. Governor Doyle will have to include any formal request in his budget plan due out next year.