Wisconsin DOT to include long-term transportation funding in 2015-2017 budget request


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) 2015-2017 budget request will include long-term transportation funding solutions to combat an anticipated funding shortage, Wisconsin State Journal reports.

WisDOT projects a $680 million shortfall in the 2015-2017 budget, and the report notes that last year a state transportation commission said the state would fall short $15.3 billion over the next 10 years if it wants to maintain current transportation conditions. The shortfall is due largely to a decrease in revenue brought in by the state’s gas tax, which, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators, is currently 32.9 cents per gallon. Wisconsin State Journal reports that the state’s gas tax has remained unchanged since 1997 and has not been indexed for inflation since 2006.

Additionally, the national Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is fueled by a federal gas tax and provides a large portion of funding to state projects, is projected to run out of money by the end of August. An insolvent HTF would likely create a greater shortfall in Wisconsin’s budget.

According to the report, WisDOT is considering several options to help boost transportation funding, including

  • A 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike

  • A 73-percent rise in annual registration fees for commercial vehicles

  • A $20 to $54 increase in eight-year driver’s license fees

  • The elimination of the sales tax exemption on the trade-in value of a vehicle

  • The adoption of a mileage-based registration fee system

The 2015-2017 budget will not include toll roads. State Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said Congress would have to approve tolling before it can be implemented.

“For the challenges we’re facing in the short term, it’s not a solution that could be practically or legally implemented,” Gottlieb said in the report.