Governor Scott Walker released a transportation plan yesterday that would have lowered the amount of state bonding by $200 million while holding the line against raising the gas tax. To accomplish this, the Wisconsin State Journal reports Walker’s plan depends on, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo, receiving three times as much federal funding as before.
Those federal funds, if they materialized, would be used for contingency bonding to keep the southeastern Wisconsin freeway projects on schedule.
There was some hope that the governor’s proposal would move legislative leaders to end the budget impasse. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, was still agreeing with the governor as of yesterday that there would be no gas tax or fee increases.
When I asked @SenFitzgerald what his caucus’ position was on transportation, he said, “No gas tax, no increase in fees.”
— Patrick Marley (@patrickdmarley) July 6, 2017
However, Assembly Republicans are still pushing to raise taxes. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, told the MacIver Institute’s Matt Kittle that their position is no bonding at all.
“If we’re going to do that, our position is you should pay for it as you go as much as possible, because we’ve already taken transportation debt from about 8 to 10 cents on the dollar to up to 20 cents on the dollar and if we increase borrowing in this budget it will go even higher,” the lawmaker said. “We just think that’s unsustainable and without a clear plan to pay that down over time we shouldn’t do anymore bonding at this time.”
When Watchdog.org reported that a no-borrowing plan could cause gas taxes to jump by 28 cents per gallon we were told privately that nobody has such a plan. If that isn’t the plan, then what are Assembly Republicans holding out for?