Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) recognized that the expansion project for Interstate 90/39 could be delayed due to a projected transportation funding shortfall. However, Walker said on Tuesday that he believes the next budget would establish additional means to fund road maintenance and improvement projects.
Although the $950 million Interstate 90/39 expansion project remains a main goal for Governor Walker, Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb acknowledged that it was “very plausible” that the project could face delays as a direct result of lack of funding.
From 2015 to 2017, Wisconsin is expected to face a transportation budget deficit of roughly $600 million to $700 million. Governor Walker said that new revenue mechanisms will be included in his next budget proposal so long as tax cuts are also incorporated. He said that his administration will examine several revenue streams, but that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) would probably not be on the table.
Walker explained, “We’re looking at different ways of funding transportation in the future, and that would be part of an overall tax reform so that for the everyday taxpayer, their overall burden at worst would be the same and ideally would go down a little bit…what it would do is change how we fund transportation because long term—with more and more vehicles getting better gas mileage—doing it on a gas tax per gallon really isn’t sustainable.”
Wisconsin’s gas tax currently stands at 32.9 cents-per-gallon.