Vos, Fitzgerald push for tolling to fund roads

NOW: Vos, Fitzgerald push for tolling to fund roads

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58/AP) — Republican legislative leaders are advocating again for tolls to help fund Wisconsin road repairs.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald both said tolling could generate needed revenue for road repairs during a round table discussion at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting Wednesday in Madison.

Fitzgerald said he doesn't see how any state solves transportation infrastructure problems without some form of open-road tolling. He says tolling could generate billions of dollars instead of millions of dollars. He says raising the gas tax won't create enough money.

During the Wisconsin Counties Association Legislative Exchange, Fitzgerald mentioned how infrastructure was brought up in the State of the Union address.

Senator Alberta Darling believes Wisconsin should get in line to see if federal dollars could be awarded for state tolls. While there's no plans or proposals, she said any tolls would likely be placed at intersections for travel in and out of the state.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker used his veto pen to erase a $2.5 million study of interstate tolling from the last state budget.

"I think that was a mistake," said Vos.

Speaker Vos said he's waiting for Evers' budget before putting forth any proposals on tolls. 

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz dismissed the GOP leaders' remarks, saying they've been talking about tolling for years.

Over the phone, Hintz said a 2016 Wisconsin DOT study convinced him tolls were not the best idea to bring revenue for Wisconsin roads. He said tolls would only devote 77 cents on the dollar to roads. 

"It's inefficient when you're spending a quarter of the revenue you bring in on building and operating the toll collection system and 99 percent of gas tax goes towards roads," said Hintz.

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