Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he’d consider highway tolls in Wisconsin if they’re collected from motorists entering the state, particularly from Illinois.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said separately that a highway tolling plan could be a key part of a broader deal for the state’s next transportation budget — a key area of disagreement among Republican Senate and Assembly lawmakers as they craft a 2017-19 state budget.
That disagreement, combined with divisions on how to address taxes and education spending, has put the two houses at loggerheads and stalled budget talks.
Here’s the thing… I’m not ideologically opposed to tolling. The technology is such that it isn’t a hassle and the notion of the expense of roads being paid for mostly by the people actively using them is fine in concept. The problem is that this doesn’t fix the problem of too much transportation spending. In fact, opening up another revenue source just aggravates the spending problem. If the legislature wants to change the funding system to more heavily shift the burden to tolls and fees, I’m fine with that, but only if the overall spending and taxes stays flat or, preferably, decreases. Otherwise, tolls are just another way to get more money out of Wisconsinites to overspend on transportation.