Wisconsin DOT says tolls could help fund roads

Local lawmakers wary of charging tolls

Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation says toll booths could provide more than enough funds to fix the state’s roadways.

A new study from the DOT found tolling the interstates could raise billions of dollars, but the potential tolls would not fix the immediate budget deficit.

The study bases its numbers on a proposed toll rate of 4 cents per mile, meaning a trip on I-90 from La Crosse to Madison would cost most travelers more than $5 in tolls.

Local lawmakers say they are wary of putting toll booths on Wisconsin’s interstates.

“I’m not a fan of toll roads, because I think they’re simply not the most efficient way of addressing the problem,” said 94th Assembly District Representative Steve Doyle. “It would bring in revenue from out of state, but a., Congress has to approve us having toll roads in the first place and b., it’s a huge upfront expense to put them in.”

The study says it would take a minimum of four years to put the booths in place, along with an upfront cost of about $350 million. The study does not make a recommendation for or against toll booths.

“If people thought folks were upset with roundabouts, put in toll roads and you’ll have rioting in the street. People just don’t like them in Wisconsin. I don’t see that as a workable solution,” said Doyle.

State lawmakers still need to address a one billion dollar shortfall in the transportation budget.