June 2017 News & JFI Update 6/29/2017
Just Fix It Update 
TDA Poll: Wisconsinites Overwhelmingly Oppose Delaying Critical Interstate Projects in Milwaukee 

When it comes to resolving the budget impasse and building important infrastructure projects in Wisconsin, residents overwhelmingly want policymakers to "Just Fix It."

A statewide poll reveals transportation investment has near universal support with 99% of the respondents indicating that Wisconsin’s roads, bridges and public transportation are either “very important” or “somewhat important” to economic development and job growth. And voters are tired of continued delays.

"By a two-to-one margin, Wisconsinites oppose delaying highway reconstruction in the Milwaukee area," said Craig Thompson of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin, which sponsored the poll. "When given a choice, 62% of Wisconsinites oppose delaying highway reconstruction in the Milwaukee area instead of raising the revenue necessary to complete the projects. In the Milwaukee area, a whopping 67% of voters oppose reconstruction delays, with 50% strongly in opposition"

Other key findings of the poll include:
  • Nearly half (47%) believe Wisconsin roads have gotten worse over the last five years, only 21% believe they have gotten better.
  • A substantial 76% of voters would support paying an addition $4 a month if it meant creating an immediate solution to fix Wisconsin roads.
  • The vast majority (83%) supports a pay-as-you go system as opposed to borrowing more money (12%).

Poll documents:

Matt Kussow: Don't jeopardize other areas of state budget
Wisconsin State Journal
June 25, 2017

The ongoing controversy over whether and how to pay for the needs of Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure may be taking an ominous turn. Some are floating the idea of providing a short-term political fix by issuing bonds backed by the state’s general purpose revenues.

This would be a dangerous move that would jeopardize the fiscal stability of every other area of the state budget, including our state’s public universities.

Traditionally, large-scale transportation needs are met within the transportation budget, which is funded through federal funds, state gasoline taxes, registration user fees and transportation bonds. These bonds finance the state’s horizontal construction projects. Bonding for vertical construction, such as University of Wisconsin System projects, are financed by general obligation bonds.  Read more
Other Recent Media Coverage (since last update)
Click here for a complete listing.

State Journal Editorial: Get roads done with real money
Wisconsin State Journal
June 7, 2017

Mooney: Keep the I-94 east-west project on track
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 6, 2017
News from around the Nation

Over 250 House Members Sign Letter Seeking Long-Term Fix to Highway Trust Fund

In a letter dated June 12, over half of the members of the House – and a majority of both parties – urged the leadership of the Committee on Ways and Means to come up with a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund as part of tax reform.

The letter states, "Any HTF solution should entail a long-term dedicated, user-based revenue stream that can support the transportation infrastructure investment supported by President Trump and Members of Congress from both parties."

The following Wisconsin members of the House signed the letter: Representatives Grothman, Gallagher, More and Pocan.

West Virginia Legislature Passes $135 Million Annual Transportation Funding Bill

When West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 1006 earlier this month, West Virginia became the latest state to pass a transportation package including an increase in the gas tax.

The measure includes:
  • Adjusting the variable-rate state gas tax component (an additional 5 percent tax on the average wholesale price of gasoline, on top of the 20.5 cents-per-gallon flat excise tax) by raising the floor price (the minimum the tax can be charged at) from $2.34 per gallon to $3.04 per gallon. The resulting calculation would ensure that the variable-rate tax would never be less than 15.2 cents-per-gallon (as of Jan. 1, the tax has been charged as 11.7 cents-per-gallon);
  • Increasing state department of motor vehicle fees (automatically adjusted every five years based on changes to the Consumer Price Index) and the consumers sales and service tax on sales of motor vehicles;
  • Imposing additional registration fees for alternative-fuel and electric vehicles— an additional $200 for vehicles fueled with hydrogen or natural gas, $100 for vehicles operating on a combination of electricity and petrochemical fuels, and $200 for vehicles operating exclusively on electricity; and
  • Increasing the sales tax on vehicles from 5 percent to 6 percent.

In October West Virginia voters will be asked to approve a $1.6 billion bond to accelerate transportation projects.
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