Voters Could Decide Fate Of State's Transportation Fund
The Secretary is hopeful new funding methods will come forward for the state's Transportation fund and voters will help out the situation. Late last month, the D.O.T. revealed a $63 million dollar deficit by next year.
A variety of reasons are said to cause the deficit, including fewer driving miles by motorists and more fuel efficient vehicles. Gas tax revenue makes up a large portion of the revenue.
DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb held the seventh town hall meeting in Tomahawk Thursday(5/15). To maintain the current system, the state needs to raise about $680 million in new revenue. Gottlieb says they will propose a number of ways to get that revenue in the next budget. In 2006, the legislature ended the automatic yearly increases in the gas tax. Gottlieb says a return to automatic indexing is being considered, but voters might have a final say on how the money is used...
"....we hope this Constitutional amendment protecting the state's Transportation Fund that will be on the ballot this November, if that passes, we will be able to say to people that every dollar you pay in transportation, stays in transportation. That will increase people's confidence in the gas tax dollars that they are paying will be used solely for transportation...."
He says one idea is at registration time, you pay registration fees based on the miles you drive up to a capped limit. People who use the roads more would pay more. He says nothing is final, but they will make recommendations to shore up the revenue gap.