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Study Finds Toll Roads Would Help Fill Wisconsin’s Road Funding Gaps

Current State And Federal Laws Could Put Brakes On The Prospect

Lindsay Kinkade (CC-BY)

A new study released by the state suggests toll roads could be part of the answer to Wisconsin’s transportation funding woes.

The report, summarized by the state Department of Transportation, found that if tolls on Wisconsin’s interstates averaged 4 cents per mile, they’d generate $372 million a year after covering operating costs.

The study suggested tolling would be more equitable than gas tax increases since it would be more like a user fee, and generate revenue from out-of-state drivers.

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The authors acknowledged that the downsides of tolling include that it’s not currently legal. It would require changes to both state and federal law and could be tricky to operate in Wisconsin thanks to a recently approved constitutional amendment protecting the state’s transportation fund. The DOT also studied the long-term conditions of Wisconsin’s roads and found that, over the next decade, they’ll get worse even if the state starts spending more.