Wisconsin’s transportation budget shortfall—and whether to raise the gas tax to fund it—dominated much of the legislative debate in 2017, and now it looks like the gas tax could be back on the table in 2018.
Although Gov. Walker has been firmly opposed to increasing the gas tax, he recently announced he would be open to doing so—as long as it is balanced out by other tax cuts elsewhere in the budget—in order to gain access to federal infrastructure funding. The Associated Press reported his comments from Feb. 1: “I’m willing to look at ways to add to our revenue in the transportation budget as long as we have a net neutral, or ideally, a net reduction for the overall burden of the tax burden in the state.”
This announcement came after President Trump’s call for a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure nationwide, such as roads, bridges, railways, and waterways. However, the plan isn’t expected to be fully funded by the federal government and instead largely by state and local governments along with private investors. Walker, the AP reported, said he hopes the federal government will contribute at least 80 percent of the funding to keep the state share at 20 percent and that he will work with the Wisconsin congressional delegation on an infrastructure package for the state.