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Gas Tax Increase, License Fee Hikes Proposed By State Transportation Commission

 

Vehicle owners in Door and Kewaunee counties could pay another $120 a year in taxes and fees if the state adopts a plan being recommended by a state transportation commission.

Raising the state gas tax by five cents per gallon, increasing the driver's license fee by $20, and creating a new mileage-based registration fee for passenger vehicles are some of the recommendations being made by the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission to fund investments in Wisconsin's transportation system.

The Commission Wednesday released its report outlining recommended investments in the state's transportation system over the next 10 years and ways to pay for them.

The report calls for additional investments of nearly $480 million across all modes, including state and local roads and bridges, airports, railroads, harbors, transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The Commission's recommendations to generate the revenue necessary to fund the investments include:

  • Raising the state gas tax by five cents per gallon (the first increase since 2006);
  • Creating a new mileage-based registration fee for passenger vehicles;
  • Increasing heavy truck registration fees;
  • Increasing the fee for the state’s eight-year driver's license by $20; and
  • Eliminating the sales tax exemption on the trade-in value of vehicles.

If the recommendations are adopted, the Commission says the impact on the average vehicle owner would be about $120 a year.

The Commission says the funding plan would counteract the trend of declining revenue and the loss of purchasing power of the current transportation funding stream. Over the next 10 years, state gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, which comprise almost 90 percent of all state transportation revenues, are projected to remain flat as vehicles become more fuel efficient and fuel consumption drops. At the same time, borrowing has increased, resulting in higher principal and debt service payments.

The 10-member citizen commission was created in the 2011-13 state budget. The recommendations are advisory in nature and would require further action before being implemented.

A link to the commission's complete report along with other information can be found at http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/about/tfp/index.htm.

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