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Milwaukee County Executive Proposes Annual $60 Vehicle Registration Fee

Executive Chris Abele: Fee Could Generate $27M A Year, Enough To Fund All County Transportation Infrastructure Costs

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele reveals his county transit funding plan
Ross Terrell/WPR

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele unveiled his proposal to fund county transportation needs Thursday. As part of the plan, Abele is recommending an annual $60 vehicle registration fee he said will create revenue that will could fund millions of dollars in transportation improvements.

“The $27 million a year generated from that fee is enough to fund all of the county’s transportation infrastructure costs, including annual bus replacements, county highways and parkways, and bridge repairs that are typically financed through the parks department,” Abele said.

A bus rider for over 40 years, Patricia Lidicaer, said public transit is vital to people’s commutes.

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“I talk to the people that I’m waiting on the corner with, I talk to the people on the bus,” Lidicaer said. “I know how important transit is to the people who are trying to get to work, who are trying to get to appointments and whatever else they need to do.”

Abele is also recommending an end to free bus passes for the eligible seniors and people with disabilities. Under his plan they would pay a one-time $5 fee for a pass plus 25 cents per ride. He said over the past three years, the pass has caused a $12 million dollar deficit.

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee office director of Disability Rights Wisconsin, said she is pleased to have found a solution to keep public transit affordable.

Abele plans to release the entire proposed county transportation budget Friday.

The Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin County Highway Association will host town halls in all 72 counties Thursday, Sept. 29, in an effort to find sustainable solutions for public transportation funding.