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Wisconsin GOP Leaders At Odds Over How To Plug Billion-Dollar Transportation Shortfall

Zoo Interchange work continues, while the state has deferred other projects

Gov. Walker continues to insist he will not raise taxes or fees to fund road projects in Wisconsin. Co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee Rep. John Nygren says the state has to consider increases, now that it’s heading toward a $939-million shortfall in its transportation budget.

According to a reportthis week from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state will need to infuse about a billion extra dollars into its 2017-2019 budget to keep transportation plans at their existing level. In the 2015-17 state budget, the governor and Legislature agreed to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for essential DOT projects and delayed others.

Walker said via a press release Wednesday that he will not budge from his promise to taxpayers to “keep it a priority to live within the means of the hardworking people of Wisconsin.” The governor says he has directed his DOT secretary to identify cost-savings and prioritize the state’s road needs.

Nygren held a news conference Wednesday to urge the governor, fellow legislators and the public to be open-minded about ways to fund transportation, including a possible hike in the state’s gas tax.

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