Toll roads in Wisconsin? No, no, and no!

This is a terrible idea.

The state spends billions of dollars on road construction, and the gas tax is not drawing in as much revenue as cars become more efficient.

WISN 12 News caught up with one lawmaker who believes the toll road solution is gaining support.

“Long term, we have to look at toll roads. I look at the notion of using tolling but maybe bring down that high auto registration fee somewhat as a tradeoff,” Democratic state Rep. Peter Barca said.

Here’s a novel idea….instead of lawmakers from both parties raiding our state’s transportation fund to pay for other things, how about they actually let transportation money be spent on transportation projects.

What’s more, I’d love to see the state spend more money on local transportation infrastructure projects, rather than spending more money expanding freeways that don’t necessarily need to be expanded.


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8 thoughts on “Toll roads in Wisconsin? No, no, and no!

  1. Thanks Zach.

    I wonder if the timing has anything to do with this:

    “Potholes likely to continue exacting toll for some time”

    Climate change means increasingly more extreme heat in the summer, and more extreme cold in the winter. Both of those wreak havoc on roads.

    Whether this is in anyway related is above my paygrade:
    “Obama to push $300-billion transportation plan during Minnesota visit”,0,2745675.story#axzz2uR6jmWqT

    Based on the article, some of that is for high-speed rail.

  2. Roads are like prisons. If we build them,we will fill them. Keep adding more lanes and more people will become dependent on driving until more lanes need to be added. We need alternatives to our cars. Toll roads are not the answer. We desperately need some type of rail service from Green Bay to Milwaukee. Milwaukee needs a rail system. We need more bike lanes in the cities. We need to elect people who will find solutions to this problem. Career politicians won’t do it because they are dependent on lobbyist money to get reelected.

    1. Agree with Joe, I see bikes, cars, busses, and rail as part of an integrated network. Street cars in the most heavily congested areas, connected by a network of busses.

      The worst thing for a car is stop and go driving.

      OT, just throwing this out, because Wisconsin has a lot of it, could biomass replace steel in vehicles?

      “$12 Million for Technologies to Produce Renewable Carbon Fiber from Biomass Energy Department Announces”

      “…The Energy Department today announced up to $12 million in funding to advance the production of cost-competitive, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable non-food-based feedstocks such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. Carbon fiber derived from biomass may be less costly to manufacture and offer greater environmental benefits than traditional carbon fiber produced from natural gas or petroleum. This funding supports the Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, which is a cross-cutting effort to ensure U.S. manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace….”

      ….”Although carbon fiber can be relatively expensive, it has many applications in aerospace and automotive fields, such as Formula One racing and wherever high strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity are required such as sailing boats and rowing shell hulls, top-end bicycles and motorcycles, As manufacturing techniques improve and costs reduce it is becoming increasingly common in small consumer goods that require strength, lightness and stiffness such as: laptop bodies, tripod legs, tent poles, fishing rods, hockey sticks, bows and arrows, racquet frames, stringed instrument bodies, drum shells, golf clubs, crash helmets and billiards cues….”

      Lighter vehicles would face challenges on snow and ice. They also stop a lot faster (and have much better performance in general), and use less of whatever fuel they’re using.

  3. It’s telling that Robin Vos is quoted as saying in a Racine Journal-Times article that public transit should NOT be funded by the transportation fund because it is “more like a social service.” Really? Getting to school and your job and your appointments on time is a social service?

    This was quite revealing of the Vos (and others, I suspect) mentality about those who choose not to use cars or cannot afford them. An ugly suspicion that “they” are the horrible takers.

  4. Here in the Twin Cities we like to plan for new light-rail routes. On the hour. On the taxpayer. Even though ridership never lives up to promises. And we had snow last week due to global warming. And like always, the buses were running but the light rail was not. LOFL. St Paul now wants old-fashioned trolly cars. I suggested we paint the trolley car rails and have buses that look like trolley drive on them. And then when a tree falls they can simply just drive around it. Lots of tolls in my home Garden State. And you wait an hour on summer weekends just to pay it.
    Lets vilify those that pay the most taxes again. It is mindless fun.

    1. Leonard,

      Thank you for helping Obama and both parties keep our FEDERAL taxes so high. You’re the socialists’ best friend as you work so effectively to destroy capitalism.

      “Four Reasons You Should Consider Washington’s Deficit As Your Surplus”

      Capitalism runs on sales. Nothing happens until someone BUYS something. The real “job creators,” are consumers with dollars to spend.

      Republicans are right. Starting with the FEDERAL payroll tax, we need much LOWER federal taxes on the 99%, because it’s consumer INCOME that drives DEMAND.

      Democrats are right. We need much MORE federal investment in health care, education, and infrastructure. See Eisenhower, Republican.

      From 1946 from NY Fed Chair Beardsley Ruml:

      “(Federal) Taxes for revenue are obsolete”

      “…The necessity for a government to tax in order to maintain both its independence and its solvency is true for state and local governments, but it is not true for a national government. Two changes of the greatest consequence have occurred in the last twenty-five years which have substantially altered the position of the national state with respect to the financing of its current requirements.

      The first of these changes is the gaining of vast new experience in the management of central banks.

      The second change is the elimination, for domestic purposes, of the convertibility of the currency into gold.”

      Leonard, it’s not the FEDERAL budget that has to “balance,” it’s the THREE economic sectors, public, private (domestic), and foreign. When the private sector and the foreign sector are broke, like they are now thanks to you and your kind, the public sector, that’s the FEDERAL government, has to SPEND.

      Dr. Stephanie Kelton, @stephaniekelton economics professor at UMKC, explains all of this very well in this very accessible 49-minute video.

      This is called Modern Monetary Theory #MMT and here’s a nice three minute overview “Diagrams & Dollars: Modern Money Illustrated”

      Wake up call for Leonard, Wall Street already understands this and they never have any problems getting money from both parties and the President.

      “Bank Of America Dumps $75 Trillion In Derivatives On U.S. Taxpayers With Federal Approval”

      To put $75 trillion in perspective, US GDP in 2012 was around $16.5 trillion. We blew a lot more than the $6 trillion, they’re claiming in Iraq and Afghanistan. Social Security’s Trust Fund is $2.3 trillion. Bank of America is just one Wall Street bank. They all have derivative exposure, but they won’t disclose how much. I’ve seen estimates of $700 trillion.

      We can run out of potable water. We can run out of clean air. We can run out of metals and minerals. We can NOT run out of federal currency. We don’t borrow from China. We don’t borrow from banks. The government prints it.

      Thanks to you and your kind, we have cost-push inflation, because our whole economy is tied to fossil fuels. We need massive investment in green infrastructure to STOP cost-push inflation. The last time we had demand-pull inflation (too many dollars chasing too few goods) was World War II. When you have demand-pull inflation, that’s when you RAISE federal taxes. Federal taxes do not fund government. Their primary (but not sole) purpose is to prevent demand-pull inflation. Thanks to you and your kind we have so much slack in the economy, lost output, that we’re a long, long, way away from having to worry about demand-pull inflation.

      Once you understand these things, you’ll figure out why we need a federal job guarantee.

      The government could serve as the “employer of last resort” under a job guarantee program modeled on the WPA (the Works Progress Administration, in existence from 1935 to 1943 after being renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942). The program would offer a job to any American who was ready and willing to work at the federal minimum wage, plus legislated benefits. No time limits. No means testing. No minimum education or skill requirements.

      “Dallas Address” by @wbmosler is a short address in 2010 to conservative Democrats.

      When you get serious about lowering state and local taxes you’ll demand Minnesota legalize pot. I would never encourage anyone, who did not already have a serious illness, to use it, but the prohibition against alcohol didn’t work either. Part of the tax revenue should be used to protect the jobs, wages and benefits of law enforcement.

    2. Climate change does NOT preclude seasonal weather, as you imply. Exactly who do you see as the taxpayers who are being vilified and exactly where is that happening in this post?

      Beliefs or facts? One should be careful about using the word mindless in their comment.

  5. Infrastructure used to be solely what Democrats would observe to create a functioning economy. Then, the GOP moved to take that over, as the road builders were basicly like the construction developers, Republicans.
    Toll roads are what you do to privatize public roads.
    Having lived near Washington, the Dulles Toll Road was an incredible failure, using public money to finance their private scheme.
    The Chicago toll roads have been taken over by private interests.
    This is not a good idea for the Wisconsinites who need to use the roads in building a healthy, functioning economy.

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