MADISON (WKOW) — Lawmakers on the Republican-controlled budget committee passed a transportation proposal to invest millions toward a study that could lead to implementing tolls or installing tracking devices to track how far people drive their cars.
The study would spend $2.5 million to assess whether the state should enact mileage-based fees for drivers. It’s one of several ideas to help pay repair roads.
Some groups, however, question whether the provision is constitutional.
Executive Director Analiese Eicher of One Wisconsin Now said the proposal was a test to see how Republicans might vote on it.
“It seems a little strange and I honestly think someone might argue this is republican’s just negotiating with themselves,” said Eicher.
Strange but not uncommon. Oregon law gives drivers the option between paying a mileage-based fee or a higher gas tax. Republican political strategist Bill McCoshen of Capitol Consultants said the chances of it passing is “unlikely.”
“They may decide to take it out, the governor has signaled he might veto it out so I’m not sure that’s a provision that survives,” said McCoshen.
Democrats are still advocating for the governor’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 8 cents a gallon, which they call fair to all drivers coming to and from Wisconsin. Republicans transportation plan also increases registration fees by $10 and doubles title fees from $95 to $164.
“We are letting out of state drivers come into Wisconsin spend their tourism dollars here and were leaving them off the off the hook,” said Eicher.
A conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity of Wisconsin urged lawmakers to reject the plan when the legislature takes it up on the floor.
“A legislative committee would determine if the government can track your mileage and charge you a yet-to-be-determined fee — an unprecedented authority for a legislative committee,” APW wrote.
If this proposal passes drivers could start seeing fee increases as early as 2023, but it has to get the approval of the governor.
You can catch the full interview with Analiese Eicher of One Wisconsin Now and Bill McCoshen, Capitol Consultants on WKOW’s Capital City Sunday at 9 a.m.