Lawmaker Floats User Fee for Heavy Trucks

Meh. They are still flailing around for more ways to raise taxes instead of controlling the spending. This one is just a tax on businesses.

MADISON – Wisconsin could break a budget stalemate, avoid toll roads and raise more than $250 million for highways over the next two years by using a little-known approach being floated by a key Republican lawmaker.

Wisconsin would join four other states in placing a per mile fee on the kinds of heavy trucks that do more damage to roads, under the concept offered by a member of the Legislature’s budget committee.

In general, the fee or tax could be implemented cheaply — a sharp contrast to the big investment that would be required to implement the toll roads being considered by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker.

Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) said the approach could be paired with spending cuts to help close a long-term funding gap for the state’s road fund.

“I think this could be part of a broader solution as a revenue generator that’s equitable and sustainable,” she said.

Despite its advantages, Loudenbeck’s proposal faces an uncertain path forward at best. Many lawmakers don’t even know about it and a key industry group is not inclined to back it.