- Associated Press - Thursday, December 29, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A new state transportation study found that installing tollways on Wisconsin interstates could raise billions of dollars, but that substantial upfront investments would be needed and federal approval is uncertain.

The Department of Transportation study also found that Gov. Scott Walker’s road-funding plan for the next two years puts Wisconsin roads on path to worsen “severely” over the next decade, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/2iljH6D ) reported.

Wisconsin lawmakers and Walker commissioned the study last year as part of the 2015-17 state budget. Its findings were released Wednesday.

A day earlier, Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb announced his resignation, effective next month, with little explanation.

Walker’s office didn’t immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment on the study Wednesday.

Lawmakers are expected to address state transportation funding in the upcoming 2017-18 legislative session.

Assembly Republican leaders have said toll roads should be considered in Wisconsin. No toll roads currently exist in Wisconsin.

The study gave a broad overview of its pros, cons and how toll roads would be implemented. The study assumed tolls would be collected electronically, eliminating the need for drivers to stop to pay a toll, and for toll plazas that restrict highway access.

The study does not give a recommendation for or against the implementation of tolls.

It would take about four years to implement any plans for a toll system. Upfront capital costs for a toll system in Wisconsin would range between $350 million to $400 million.

The state could take in between $14 billion and $41 billion from tolls on interstates from 2020 through 2050 depending on the chosen toll rate. The revenue would come from motorists, including in- and out-of-state residents.

Federal permission to toll U.S. interstates would be needed to move toll road plans forward in Wisconsin, even if approved by state leaders.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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