By Andy Szal
Wisconsin lawmakers should focus on finding an alternative to fuel taxes for transportation funding — but that alternative should not include tolls — according to a long-range plan released today by the state Department of Transportation.
Connections 2030, a broad plan to maintain the state’s transportation infratructure for the next 20 years, indicated that the state will use the recommendations of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission — apart from tolling — as a framework for funding rising transportation costs. The report projects revenue from state fuel taxes to remain relatively flat as construction and real estate costs continue to rise.
The DOT report also identifies 37 “priority corridors” across the state — which “serve critical sectors of the state’s economy and connect to other states” — that will be increasingly reliant on cooperation between state, regional and local authorities. The corridors largely comprise large interstate and state highways and assign next steps for the roads, from developing corridor plans to increasing capacity and repairs.
“Our efforts over the next 20 years will focus on maintaining and enhancing Wisconsin’s transportation system to support the state’s future mobility and economic growth,” said Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi in a statement. “Since no single entity has authority over the entire transportation system, implementing the plan will take coordination and cooperation among many interests and business areas, including the federal government, local governments, tribes, transportation providers and the private sector.