In its report titled, "Keep Wisconsin Moving: Smart Investments, Measurable Results," the Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission called for an additional $480 million in annual revenue investments through 2023 across all modes of transportation, including railroads, roads and bridges, airports, harbors, transit systems, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
The recommendations would "provide the minimum amount needed to maintain existing road and bridge conditions, improve safety, provide limited highway modernization and facilitate some multi-modal improvements," state officials said in a statement issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). The commission, which was established under the state's 2011-13 budget, released its report on Wednesday.
The commission recommended several ways to generate the revenue necessary to fund the necessary transportation investments, including raising the state gas tax by 5 cents per gallon, which would be the first increase since 2006; creating a new mileage-based registration fee for passenger vehicles; and increasing heavy truck registration fees.
The funding plan would represent a "balanced approach with a continued emphasis on a 'user pays' transportation systems, where taxes and fees are proportional to use of the highway system," commission members said, according to the WisDOT release.
Meanwhile, Maryland State Senate President Thomas Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) is calling for a series of funding proposals to jump start stalled rail and other transportation projects in that state. One proposal calls for creating regional authorities that could raise taxes to help pay for the light-rail Purple Line in the Washington, D.C., area and the Red Line in Baltimore, according to an article in the Jan. 22 edition of The Washington Post.
Maryland and Wisconsin join a number of other states in which officials have recently called for state-based measures to generate new sources of revenue that would support transportation infrastructure projects.
Browse articles on Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission on Progressive Railroading
- Operation Lifesaver Inc. starts new chapter with Joyce Rose at the helm
- Crude oil and intermodal will drive rail traffic for BNSF over the long term
- Metrolink's DePallo plans to build on progress, develop long-term strategy
- RailTrends 2012 represented a full deconstruction of the North American rail industry — by Tony Hatch
- CREATE update: Grade crossing upgrades, separations and closures
- TriMet's Portland-Milwaukie project will add vital link to southeast destinations
- Union Pacific opens information technology center in Austin
- Marcellus and Utica shale drilling keeps railroads busy
- Carload Express creates Ohio short line to tap two eastern shales
- Grade crossing safety: Freight and passenger railroads take a multi-pronged approach
- High-speed rail is on a slower, but steady, track: HNTB
- Material handling and distribution equipment update
- Santa Clara VTA aims for succession planning success with IT department pilot