Wisconsin governor clarifies stance on tolling

| 2/20/2009

Those who say Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is in favor of toll roads should think again.

Doyle reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper that he had an open mind to tolling and privatization to pay for state transportation projects.

But Doyle, who is in the midst of the state budget process and who recently signed economic recovery legislation for his state, issued a statement to clarify his stance.

His stance is that if tolling were to become an option, it is still at least five years away.

“I do not support toll roads. I did not include a toll road provision in my budget and am not working on plans to implement toll roads,” Doyle stated on Thursday, Feb. 17.

“In a discussion (Wednesday) about long-term transportation policy, I suggested that in five, 10, or 15 years from now, as the country moves toward more fuel efficient vehicles and electric and hybrid cars, that the state will receive less revenue from the gas tax. At that time, as a state, we will need to explore alternative funding sources for road projects, as will every other state that relies on gas tax revenues for transportation projects.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, with 160,000 members nationwide and more than 2,600 members in Wisconsin, appreciated the clarification.

“The governor raised serious concerns among highway users,” OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce told Land Line.

“We appreciate the clarification he offered. The Wisconsin governor knows that tolls are not the answer, that tolls inhibit economic develop, that tolls are double-taxation and an affront to all hard-working truckers. We hope that all of the other governors receive his clarified statement.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer