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UPDATE: Gas Tax Increase Proposal Approved

UPDATED Wednesday, January 23, 2013--5:50p.m.

MADISON--Tom Melms knows firsthand the cost of logging a lot of miles. "We put on approximately three million miles a year," he said. Melms is the president of Badger Cab, which has 43 taxicabs in their fleet. "We go through approximately 300,000 gallons of fuel a year," he said.

As to the possibility of raising the state gas tax by five cents a gallon: "Five cents a gallon is an increase and if we have an increase in our costs we have to increase our rates," said Melms.

Melms said the Badger Cab fleet runs on propane. We checked with the DOT and they said that under the commission's recommendation only gasoline and diesel would see the five cent per gallon tax hike. But, lawmakers could change that if they decide to take-up the issue.

The commission is also recommending a mileage-based registration fee for passenger vehicles--and Badger Cab would have to pay those fees."Everything adds up," said Melms. "It's difficult because you want to keep the cost of public transportation down."

Here's how that fee would work: you'd pay a little over a penny for every mile you drive. However, the number of miles facing a fee would be capped at 17,000, so the most anyone would have to pay is just under $175 a year.

"It starts to get people to think about how many miles they drive and do you need to drive that extra mile even though it's only going to cost you a penny," said Dave Cieslewicz, a commission member. "Under this scenario it gets people thinking in that way."

Other recommendations from the commission include: increasing heavy truck registration fees and raising the eight-year drivers' license fee by $20.

It is important to add that these are strictly recommendations at this point; lawmakers will need to act on them in order for them to actually go into effect. "The recommendations brought forward probably don't have a lot of possibility of passing," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington. "I just think now is not the right time to raise the gas tax or create a new per-mile registration fee. But at the same time I realize there's a problem and we've got to figure out how to make sure we can keep paying for roads to be repaired, because the longer you put off a repair the more expensive it is."

Speaker Vos said he's a big supporter of transportation projects because they can create jobs--but also said the state has a transportation funding problem. He said he's hopeful they'll be able to find ways to pay for funding without increasing the burden on Wisconsin families.

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 23, 2013 --- 11:10 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Members of a bipartisan task force recommending a series of tax and fee increases to pay for the state's transportation needs says the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker must take a serious look at its proposal.

Transportation Finance and Policy Commission member John Antaramian of Kenosha said Wednesday it will be an uphill battle to get the recommendations approved. But he says lawmakers and Walker must look at the needs of the state and the importance available to address them.

Antaramian says he has faith policy makers will deal with the issue.

Among the group's recommendations are increasing the costs to register a vehicle, get a driver's license and buy gas in Wisconsin. The recommendations would generate about $479 million a year over the next 10 years.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, January 23, 2013 --- 10:53 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- It would cost more to register a vehicle, get a driver's license and buy gas in Wisconsin under a series of recommendations unanimously approved by a group studying ways to shore up transportation funding in the state.

The recommendations would generate about $479 million a year over the next 10 years were released Wednesday by the Transportation Finance and Policy Commission.

Many of the group's ideas have already been rejected by Gov. Scott Walker.

The commission says the impact on the average driver would be $120 a year.

Walker has said improving the state's infrastructure is one of his priorities, but he is opposed to raising the gas tax. He will outline his plan in his state budget to be released next month.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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Posted Wednesday January 23, 2013 -- 6:45 a.m.

It would cost more to register a vehicle, get a driver's license and buy gas in Wisconsin under a series of recommendations expected to be finalized by a group studying ways to shore up transportation funding in the state

The recommendations would generate about $479 million a year over the next 10 years are to be released Wednesday by the Transportation Finance and Policy Commission.

Many of the group's ideas have already been rejected by Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker has said improving the state's infrastructure is one of his priorities, but he is opposed to raising the gas tax. Walker has also come out against toll roads or limited toll lanes to raise money.

He will outline his plan in his state budget to be released next month.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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