AP NEWS

State road funding called into question

May 2, 2019

CLYMAN -- Although the two lawmakers were peppered with different questions at a listening session in the village of Clyman on Monday, state Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, were able to answer questions about how to fund the state’s roadways.

“What are you two doing about the roads in our state?” asked one resident.

Fitzgerald said the roads and interstate system remain a “high priority” for the legislature.

He said Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to help bring fuel prices down, even when accounting for a higher gas tax, with the markup law adding 14 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, is a “pie in the sky” concept. The markup law requires retailers to increase the price of gas in most cases by 9.18 percent above the average wholesale price.

Fitzgerald said the proposed budget has the state’s 32.9-cent gas tax increasing 8 cents, but the state’s minimum markup law on fuel that results in a roughly 9 percent increase in the price of gas would be eliminated.

Gas taxes would automatically increase with inflation.

Fitzgerald said Evers believes the net effect could be a per-gallon decrease of as much as 14 cents.

“I think that’s hocus pocus,” Fitzgerald said.

However, heavy truck registration and new car titling fees would increase, but the $75 vehicle registration fee most car owners pay would not change.

“We have $5 billion projects that need to be completed, which needs to be addressed,” Fitzgerald said.

Born said with the mix of Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature there will be some “give and take” when a transportation budget is set.

“I’m confident we can work together for the good of the people,” Born said.