OOIDA ELECTION REPORT Wisconsin voters protect transportation money

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, November 07, 2014

Wisconsin voters decided this week to stop raids on transportation funds in the state.

On Tuesday, 80 percent of Wisconsin voters supported a question on the statewide ballot to amend the state’s Constitution to protect road, bridge and transit money from raids.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, an estimated $1.2 billion was swiped from the state transportation fund over a 10-year period. The transportation account now is projected to need $6 billion during the next decade just to cover needed maintenance.

With passage of Question 1, all fuel tax and vehicle fee revenue must be used only for the state’s transportation system.

Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, has said the amendment provides a guarantee to taxpayers that future transportation revenue will be used as intended.

“One way or another we are going to have to find ways to make sure our roads and other transportation systems are safe and efficient,” Petrowski said in a previous news release. “This amendment provides a secure starting point for that discussion.”

In order for the Wisconsin Constitution to be amended, state lawmakers were required to approve the change in two consecutive sessions. After meeting the legislative requirement, voters needed to approve it.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association endorsed Question 1. The Association sent a Call to Action to Wisconsin truckers prior to Election Day encouraging support for the question on the ballot.

OOIDA Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek said fuel taxes and vehicle fees generated from roadway users have no business being diverted to non-transportation related programs.

“The taxes you pay on fuel should be used to build and maintain roads and bridges and other transportation systems,” Matousek said. “Unfortunately, an estimated $1.2 billion has been swiped from the Wisconsin transportation fund over a 10-year period to help balance the state budget and support other programs.”

Matousek thanked Wisconsin truckers who made their voices heard on the issue.

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