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