When Wisconsin residents head to the polls on Election Day, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution will be among the questions waiting for them on the ballot.
The measure up for a statewide vote would prevent lawmakers and the governor from directing funds deposited in the state transportation fund, from sources such as fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees, to other areas of state government. The ballot question reads:
“Creation of a Transportation Fund. Shall section 9 (2) of article IV and section 11 of article VIII of the constitution be created to require that revenues generated by use of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund administered by a department of transportation for the exclusive purpose of funding Wisconsin’s transportation systems and to prohibit any transfers or lapses from this fund?”
Craig Thompson with the Wisconsin Transportation Development Association is part of a coalition that’s advocating for the amendment. He says recent state budgets have seen the fund “dipped in to” to help pay for other projects, which runs counter to the reasons the transportation fund was created. The fund is intended to fund road construction and improvement projects across the state.
Critics of the amendment argue it does not address the real funding problems facing the state’s transportation needs and keeps lawmakers from addressing the issue head-on. They also argue the amendment will “tie the hands” of the governor and the Legislature by limiting their ability to use state funds as they see fit.
WIBA’s John Colbert contributed to this report.