The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association supports the Wisconsin Legislature’s pursuit of a long-term solution to the current $1 billion transportation funding shortfall. We believe that solution includes an increase in fuel taxes and associated vehicle registration fees.
Gov. Scott Walker stated on February 1, 2018 that he is open to raising the state’s gas tax, if it can be offset by
other tax cuts, to leverage more federal funding for Wisconsin roadways; we hope this is a sign that the political impasse on this issue might soon be overcome.
Dairy food makers and the farming community rely on a strong infrastructure, from rural roads to Interstate highways. From the movement of farm equipment to fresh milk hauling and the transport of finished dairy product to market, the Wisconsin cheese industry is dependent upon roadways of all kinds.
The U.S. Department of Transportation cites the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure declaring 71 percent of Wisconsin roads to be in mediocre or poor condition. Per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 14 percent of Wisconsin’s bridges are in disrepair or functionally obsolete. These statistics reveal what all Wisconsin drivers know: Wisconsin’s roadway infrastructure requires major investment.
In recent budgets, policymakers leaned on bonding to provide the dollars needed for the most critical infrastructure projects. However, WCMA recognizes that bonding only delays and prolongs payments and therefore opposes it as a primary source of funding.
Given the condition of state roadways, WCMA also considers the delay of planned projects unacceptable.
Furthermore, WCMA members oppose tolling as a long-term funding strategy, due to its failure to generate funding for road improvements in other states, potential negative impact on tourism and workforce resources, and unequal impact on users of varying economic status.
WCMA supports a funding strategy that increases the fuel tax, as well as associated taxes and registration fees to provide a reliable, ongoing source of revenue specifically for the maintenance and improvement of Wisconsin roadways. WCMA members offer their support and partnership as these options are investigated.