It will be tempting to assume that tolling might “solve” Wisconsin’s transportation finance problem and render unnecessary any need to raise the gas tax. That expectation will need to be tested against the reality of multi-billion freeway reconstruction costs and the price-tag for halting the steady decline in the condition of out-state roads. Once the numbers get crunched there almost certainly will be a shortfall.The highway commissioners can decide to write off some excess capacity now, or they can confront a more difficult triage later.
The widespread recognition among legislators that new revenue is needed explains the emergence of such ideas. The impetus for such talk is the line in the sand drawn by Governor Scott Walker when it comes to raising the gas tax. It remains to be seen whether the governor can reconcile imposition of tolling with his repeated assurances that current revenue is adequate.Square "adequate revenue" with "crumbling infrastructure" if you can.