In a letter to legislative leaders, Governor Scott Walker is proposing reducing borrowing for transportation by $200 million but is holding firm in opposing raising taxes and fees. The letter to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, would also fund the Southeast Freeway Megaproject program through contingency bonding.
“Interstate 94 North/South, the Zoo Interchange and Interstate 94 East/West are high profile projects in southeastern Wisconsin,” Walker wrote. “We propose contingency bonding that would be linked to additional federal funding for mega projects. Wisconsin is well positioned to qualify for additional federal funding to help support mega projects.”
In the letter, Walker described the $200 million in reduction as a victory for state Assembly leadership who have been proposing raising taxes for transportation instead. The reduction would be accomplished “by using an improved transportation fund balance, project cost savings, and other administrative actions.”
“We believe this can be accomplished while continuing to keep projects on schedule,” Walker wrote.
The reduction in bonding, keeping the major road projects on schedule, and providing more local road aid can be accomplished without raising taxes, according to Walker.
We can pass a budget that provides meaningful increases to local governments to improve roads and bridges – as well as add significant investments in safety and maintenance and highway rehabilitation – all without raising the gas tax or vehicle fee. All active major projects remain on schedule with these additions to our proposal. In addition, new revenues will be available for roads in the next budget as the bonds funded by the Petroleum Inspection Fee will be paid off and those revenues can be available to bolster the Transportation Fund.
Passing a strong and responsible transportation budget without a gas tax or vehicle fee increase is a win for the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
You can read the entire letter here.