No increase in gas tax or registration fees for road projects - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

No increase in gas tax or registration fees in Gov. Walker's transportation budget

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BARABOO (WKOW) -- There will be no increase in the state gas tax or vehicle registration fees to pay for an additional $824 million in Gov. Scott Walker's 2013-2014 transportation budget.

That investment is part of an overall transportation budget of $6.4 billion, most of which will be comprised of federal money.

Gov. Walker told workers at Seneca Foods on Friday afternoon that good jobs like theirs depend on a healthy state infrastructure.

"You gotta have roads and bridges and freight rail and other opportunities to get product to and from market, and that's a key part of our investment here today," said Gov. Walker.

The majority of that investment will go to the Milwaukee area.  $550 million is earmarked for revamping the fifty year-old Zoo Interchange along I-94 and another $236 million is for repairs on the Hoan Bridge that leads to the Port of Milwaukee.

"For the Zoo Interchange and the Hoan Bridge, which are two big projects, we're doing bonding on that as historically the state has done for big transportation projects," said Gov. Walker.

Issuing bonds and taking money out of the state's general revenue fund will pay for part of the improvements.  But, the Governor also wants to sell some state-owned power and heating plants, as well as other property.  Some of that would need legislative approval.

"A good chunk of that land in volume, is land the Department of Transportation acquires for major projects, and then after they're completed, in the past, they haven't been in a rush to sell off the land they didn't need.  We're gonna do that," said Gov. Walker.

There are no specifics yet on the breakdown of exactly how much of the $824 million will come from each area, but the Governor says the important thing is that it doesn't come from taxpayers.

"We just thought in this economy, that was incredibly important, because people are just coming out of the recession nationally and we're getting better here in the State of Wisconsin.  The last thing I wanted to do was heap on a gas tax or another tax increase period," said Gov. Walker.

 

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