, , , , ,

Milwaukee County Voters Reject Idea Of New Wheel Tax

More Than 70 Percent Of Voters Voted No On The Proposed Tax

Downtown Milwaukee
Jeramey Jannene (CC-BY)

Milwaukee County residents overwhelmingly rejected the idea of paying an increased vehicle registration fee during Tuesday’s election. More than 70 percent of voters said no to paying an additional $60 wheel tax in Milwaukee County.

County Executive Chris Abele proposed the fee last year to cover the county’s transportation funding shortfall. Melissa Baldauff, county executive spokeswoman, said it’s crucial for people to understand the need for the tax

“We’ve been able to keep fares pretty flat for folks who rely on the bus to get to work, to get to school, and to get to their doctors appointments,” she said. “It’s going to be a challenge. We cannot sustain our current level of service with the amount of funding we have available today.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Baldauff said the wheel tax is needed to maintain current transit levels.

“We had hoped to have that context for the voters in the actual question so they really had all the information when they were making their decision at the ballot box,” she said. “The vehicle registration fee is the only tool we have available to us locally.”

She said a flat fee is the only option the county has but they are working to get approval on a tiered approach.

County supervisors say the wheel tax is just another burden for residents and the responsibility to gain support from the public falls on Abele since it’s his intiative.

If adopted into the budget, this would be the third wheel tax residents would pay along with the state’s and city’s.