Walker: ‘No Interest’ In Vehicle Fee Increase To Pay For Roads

Walker Has Promised To Veto Gas Tax Increase

Milwaukee highway
Jeramey Jannene (CC-BY)

Gov. Scott Walker said Monday he has “no interest” in increasing vehicle registration fees to help pay for road projects in Wisconsin, but stopped short of saying he’d veto the increase if lawmakers put it in the state budget.

Walker has repeatedly promised to veto any gas tax increase for roads, but a recent statement from the governor’s office left open the possibility that Walker might support a vehicle registration fee hike.

“Governor Walker welcomes the opportunity to work with lawmakers on investments in transportation now that it is clear that they will not take away from his historic levels of support for K-12 education,” Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson said via email April 6. “He is open to many different options as long as they don’t include an increase in the gas tax.”

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But during a Monday press conference in the Capitol, the governor said he “doesn’t have any interest” in the fee increase.

“I’m not proposing nor do I think we’re going to have a gas tax or a vehicle registration fee increase as a part of this budget,” Walker said.

Walker stopped short of saying he’d veto a fee increase if lawmakers include it in the budget. Some Republican lawmakers have expressed interest in doing so, saying all options should be on the table.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, co-chair of the state’s budget committee told The Associated Press on Monday that fees were “definitely” under consideration.

“I say everything is on the table,” Darling said.

The governor said he believes the state has “more than enough” revenue available to pay for new and improved roads. He said that money can come from higher than expected tax collections and savings from other state programs.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, told the Associated Press on Monday he is “skeptical” of using general tax money for roads.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with additional reporting from the Associated Press at 4:56 p.m. Monday, April 24.