OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — A report to Wisconsin state lawmakers will recommend increasing the gas tax and raising vehicle registration and driver's license fees, a newspaper reported Thursday.
The Transportation Finance and Policy Commission report that will be delivered next week will include those and other options for lawmakers to consider as they look to close the state's $2 billion transportation funding gap, the Oshkosh Northwestern reported. The changes would cost the average driver who travels 12,000 miles-per-year and gets about 20 miles-per-gallon about $120 more per year.
Gov. Scott Walker has said improving the state's infrastructure is one of his priorities, but he is opposed to raising the gas tax. Walker has also come out against toll roads or limited toll lanes to raise money. He will outline his plan in his state budget to be released next month.
The report from the Transportation Finance and Policy Commission will recommend a 5-cent increase in the gas tax and tying registration fees to miles traveled. The recommendations would generate about $479 million a year to pay for road, bridge, airport and other transportation-related projects.
Commission member Craig Thompson told the newspaper that the $4.8 billion generated over 10 years would help close the projected $2 billion funding gap over the same period and ensure Wisconsin does not fall any further behind.
"We wanted to assess where we were, whether we needed (additional funds) and if we could find more efficient ways to fund it," said Thompson, executive director of the Transportation Development Association.
Recommendations in the report will include:
- Adopting a new mileage-based vehicle registration fee of 1.02 cents-per-mile up to 20,000 miles for cars and light trucks. The first 3,000 miles would be free, meaning the fee would top out at $204, compared to the $75 flat fee now.
- Increase annual registration fees for commercial vehicles in proportion to passenger vehicle increases.
- Increase the state motor fuel tax by 5 cents per gallon, the first increase since 2006.
- Raise the fee to renew a driver's license by $20 to $54.
- Eliminate the sales tax exemption on the trade-in value of vehicles.
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