Report Recommends Mileage-Based User Fees

A new report from the Badger Institute, Future-Proofing Wisconsin’s Highway Funding System, looks at the expected loss of gas tax productivity due to more fuel efficient and alternatively fueled vehicles. According to the report, projections show the gas tax diminishing as a revenue source over time, with a mid-level of electric vehicle (EV) adoption resulting in an estimated 33 percent reduction in Wisconsin gas tax revenues by 2050 when compared to a no-change-miles-per-gallon scenario. And this gap will not be covered by the current surcharge on annual registration fees for EVs ($100) and hybrid vehicles ($75).


The report recommends transitioning from fuel taxes to mileage-based user fees (MBUF). The first step would be gaining approval from the Federal Highway Administration for a Wisconsin MBUF pilot program.

Wisconsin & Federal Infrastructure Law

Wisconsin and Minnesota Seek Federal Funds to Replace Blatnik Bridge

Wisconsin and Minnesota are applying for $890 million in federal funding available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to help replace the John A. Blatnik Bridge

Connecting Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota, over a tributary of Lake Superior, this bridge serves as a vital freight and commercial connection. Built in 1961 and jointly owned and managed by the Wisconsin and Minnesota departments of transportation, it serves more than 33,000 cars per day. The replacement bridge, scheduled for construction beginning in 2028 and costing about $1.8 billion, will improve safety and accommodate oversize and overweight loads.

Read the press release.

USDOT Announces RAISE, Bus Grants

Significant Infrastructure Investment and Job Act dollars are in competitive discretionary grant programs. Wisconsin communities received some assistance with a couple of recent federal grant announcements:

RAISE Grants – On Aug. 11, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced more than $2.2 billion in awards from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. These dollars help urban and rural communities move forward with projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation, making the transportation system safer and more accessible.

Wisconsin communities and tribal governments received four awards totaling $31.3 million.

Competitive Bus Grants – The Federal Transit Administration announced $1.66 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories, and states earlier this month. This investment will help purchase more than 1,800 new buses, most of which are zero-emission.

In Wisconsin, the City of Racine will receive $3.8 million to replace four diesel buses with battery electric buses. This award will bring Racine transit’s all-electric, battery-powered bus count to 13, with about 40% of the system's fixed-route fleet being zero-emission.

Wisconsin Transportation News

New Northern Grain Belt Statistical Port Project Underway

Counties and municipalities on the Upper Mississippi River are working to become a statistical port district, the Northern Grain Belt Port Statistical Area (NGB PSA). The new area would stretch from Red Wing, Minnesota, south to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and encompass  both banks of the Mississippi River. 


This initiative to create boundaries for the region would enable the area to be nationally ranked as a port and facilitate better tracking of the region's commodities transported on the Mississippi River. 


A port statistical area designation can aid an inland port region in marketing itself to investors and customers by consolidating port and terminal data. It also helps in applying for federal and state grants. 


The port area includes eleven counties, and all have passed resolutions to be a part of the NGB PSA. Organizers still need to apply to the Army Corps of Engineers for recognition as a PSA.

A similar effort resulted in federal recognition of the Corn Belt Ports as port statistical areas in 2020-21, including the Mississippi River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, the Mid-America Port Commission, and the Illinois Waterway Ports and Terminals. 

Wisconsin Joins Other Midwest States in EV-Friendly Scenic Lakeshore Route

Governor Evers has announced a collaboration between Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois to build a 1,100-mile scenic lakeshore route with a network of electric vehicle chargers.


The "Lake Michigan EV Circuit Tour" will feature a network of reliable EV chargers around Lake Michigan. Chargers are planned for locations that are population centers or venues that attract visitors, such as state parks and entertainment venues.


Parts of the network are already in operation, with the route expected to be fully connected within the next few years.

Other Transportation News

Nationwide Car Fatalities Hit High in First Quarter 2022

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released an early estimate of 2022 first quarter motor vehicle fatalities, the highest level since 2002.


NHTSA estimates that 9,560 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the first three months of 2022, which is an approximately 7 percent increase over the comparable period in 2021. 

Part of this increase in traffic fatalities is related to increased traffic. Preliminary data shows vehicle miles traveled in the first three months of 2022 increased by about 40.2 billion miles, or 5.6 percent. But the fatality rate in the first quarter of 2022 was also up compared to the first quarter of 2021 (1.27 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2022 vs. 1.25 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles in the first quarter of 2021).

While fatalities increased nationwide, 19 states and Puerto Rico saw traffic deaths decline. According to NHTSA data, Wisconsin saw an increase in traffic fatalities of 36 percent in first quarter 2022 over the same quarter in 2021.

TDA Outreach

TDA Podcast: The Coolest Things Made in Wisconsin Contest

The annual Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin competition highlights the state's vibrant manufacturing industry, showcases amazing Wisconsin products, and celebrates the men and women who make it all happen.

Nick Novak, Vice President of Communications & Marketing at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, talks with TDA's Debby Jackson about this annual contest, encouraging us all to get involved at Other topics covered in this fast-paced segment include the condition of Wisconsin's economy and how manufacturing has changed.

Listen to the podcast.

Association News

Thanks to Our Organizational Sponsors

Upcoming Industry Events

Southeast Wisconsin Transportation Symposium

TDA is proud to sponsor the upcoming 2022 Southeast Wisconsin Transportation Symposium co-hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Institute for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Oct. 14 event brings academics, students, and practitioners together to network and discuss a wide range of transportation topics and also provides an opportunity for sharing innovative practices with the broader transportation community.

This event will take place in the UWM Student Union. The $25 registration fee includes lunch and parking.

More info and registration is available here.

Save the Date

  • TDA 2022 Annual Meeting: Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Madison Marriott West
Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin

10 East Doty Street, Suite 201 | Madison, WI 53703

(608) 256-7044  |

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