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State Spending On Local Roads Growing At Slow Rate, Finds Research Group

Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance Suggests State Economy Will Struggle If Roads Don't Receive More Attention

Spending on local roads in Wisconsin has increased 0.5 percent since 2000, according to a new study. Photo: J.B. (CC-BY-NC-SA).

A new study commissioned by local governments suggests the state has neglected local roads and Wisconsin’s economy could struggle if that doesn’t change.

The study conducted by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance found that since 2000, per-capita spending on local roads has grown by roughly 0.5 percent compared to 3.5 percent nationally. Taxpayers Alliance director Todd Berry said that’s noteworthy because there are far more miles of local roads than state highways in Wisconsin, and the state’s agriculture and manufacturing-based economy depends heavily on roads.

“This transportation finance problem has a local dimension that is in fact more serious and more urgent,” said Berry.

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The state Department of Transportation’s proposed budget would lean on gas taxes and a new vehicle tax to increase road funding. Berry said other possibilities include wheel taxes, personal property taxes, and local gas and sales taxes.