Wisconsin group pushes I-43/I-94 junction toll bridge

| Monday, December 23, 2002

A policy group's proposal to rebuild Milwaukee's Marquette Interchange includes charging users a toll, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports. The proposal is sure to get more than a glance from Northeastern Wisconsin lawmakers.

The $1.5 billion price tag to refurbish the junction of I-43 and I-94 in Milwaukee reportedly could bleed most of the available money from the state's road construction budget for several years.

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute proposes forming a public-private partnership to design, build and operate the new interchange, according to the newspaper. By tolling users to pay for the construction bonds, the burden would be taken off the taxpayers.

The group suggests a toll of $2 per car and $10 per truck during peak driving times; and $1.40 and $7 during non-peak driving times and weekends.

At risk under most traditional plans is money for several highway projects in the region, the Press-Gazette reports. If the Marquette Interchange project is funded through regular means, most officials doubt there will be much money left for the rest of the state.

The part of the institute's plan that may be attractive to some lawmakers is the estimated $17 million to $21 million reportedly generated by out-of-state drivers.

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