Republican legislators suggest tolls on Wisconsin highways


    Republican legislators suggest tolls on Wisconsin highways. (WLUK/Jessie Basinski)

    (WLUK) -- Republican legislative leaders say toll roads could be the answer to generating needed money for road repairs.

    The idea was brought up during a round-table discussion at a Wisconsin Counties Association meeting last Wednesday.

    Both Republicans and Democrats still have a lot of questions about the plan.

    Local leaders are ready to hit the pavement when it comes to finding a solution for fixing streets and infrastructure, and some republicans believe tolls may be the answer.

    "This is an idea that's been around for years, but it hasn't been talked about with any depth within the group of state senators," said State Senator Rob Cowles.

    Senator Cowles said if leadership wants to go in the direction of tolls, he would have many questions

    "Exactly how would this work? How much would we have to pay up front? Where would the tolls be?" were some of the questions he would need answered.

    Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz told FOX 11 over that phone that he doesn't think tolls are the answer.

    "Seventy seven cents to the dollar on tolls is used to repair the roads. The rest is used for upkeep of the actual tolls. Where as .99 to the dollar of a gas tax goes to road repairs.

    Hintz says he would first like to explore other ideas before tolls.

    "I think it's the worst option of all the options out there," he said.

    Drivers we talked to were split on the idea.

    "I think it’s a good way to bring in revenue," said one driver. Collin Bouressa.

    Mike Kirschling says he's not a fan of tolls.

    "I think there is some way to have a use tax of some sort, not necessarily a greater gas tax," said Kirschling.

    There are currently just nine states without any tolling facilities.

    Collin Bouressa Says he's more interested in how the toll system would operate.

    "Going through Colorado and having to pay them online that's kind of annoying, because if you miss payments you get late fees stacked on top of it," said Bouressa.

    The money generated from tolls would be used to pay for those highways. Leaders say that would free up money to help pay for local roads as well. Amanda Becker, FOX 11 News.

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