My take: Republican transportation funding plan

Republicans on the state’s budget committee recently approved plans to increase the annual vehicle registration fee by $10 and the vehicle title transfer fee by $95 to provide $484 million in new financing for local and state transportation projects. Democrats had supported a gas tax increase instead. Recently, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio and Sen. LaTonya Johnson appeared on UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen to discuss the issue.

Rep. Robin Vos



Sen. LaTonya Johnson



The Republicans’ plan

V: “It focuses on what we know is a long-term priority…to ensure we have funding for transportation in a way that is sustainable. We don’t want to keep going one budget at a time with a lot of borrowing as we have seen, frankly, under Gov. Doyle and Gov. Walker. The revenue that’s being predicted will actually bring a fairly sizable increase for local road aids and state highway projects.”

J: “For individuals that are on fixed incomes…it is exceptionally hard for them to come up with those funds to do simple things like re-register their car or transfer that title. That’s something that we need to consider.”

Gas tax

V: “If the gas tax went up 10 cents a gallon and you drive the average number of miles with the average amount of gas mileage it would be lower if you do this, if you buy a car every five years, than if we raised the gas tax.”

J: “An 8-cent gas tax spreads the cost of maintaining Wisconsin’s roads across the boards with those individuals who live in Wisconsin and those who use Wisconsin roads to get to their destination. Proposing a title fee, that just sticks that cost to Wisconsin residents.”

Financial impact

V: “We are going to have a substantial increase in funding. We’re going to have a 19% increase in state highway funding, we’re going to have the lowest level of borrowing since 2003, and we’re going to triple the spending on local road improvement programs, which is the largest since 1998.”

J: “To impose a tax like this specifically for Wisconsin residents is just another way to penalize Wisconsin residents for utilizing their own roads and to make it the same across the board; regardless of whether you purchased a $1,500 car or a $65,000 car, you’re going to be paying $164.50 for a transfer. At least with the gas tax that’s dependent on how much you utilize that vehicle.”

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.