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Wisconsin’s Biggest Business Group Supports More Road Revenue, Just Not Right Now

WMC Responds To Speaker Vos After Truck Fee Dust-Up

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The Wisconsin Capitol reflected in an office window
Steve Brown & John Verkleir (CC-BY)

The state’s largest business group says its board supports a gas tax or vehicle registration fee increase to pay for roads, but it also says those ideas aren’t politically viable this year.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and several other business groups to lay out how they would fix the transportation budget.

The groups were instrumental in effectively killing a fee on heavy trucks that Vos touted last week.

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WMC sent a letter to Vos Friday saying its board voted earlier this year to support a 5-cent increase in the gas tax or a $25 increase in the vehicle registration fee.

But with Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Republicans opposed to those fees, WMC lobbyist Jason Culota said they won’t pass.

“So from our perspective for this budget, it’s not viable for us to pursue what we think are those reasonable revenue increases,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that figuring out revenues is a dead issue. It will have to be considered again in the next state budget. But for this state budget, there’s really constraints that are set in place and the policymakers are sort of stuck within those constraints.”

The state should instead focus on cutting costs at the Department of Transportation and getting more road money from the general fund, which pays for schools, Culota said.

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