7/8/19 – Beloit Daily News

More Cooperation and Less Politics: Wisconsin still needs a more sustainable transportation plan.

AS THE COLUMN on this page by Steven Walters points out, a robust economy makes every problem look a little smaller because politicians have money to throw around.

That doesn’t stop Democrats and Republicans from fighting with each other, though.

A case in point is how best to fund Wisconsin’s transportation needs going forward. Democrats have their ideas, and Republicans have theirs. They tend to stymie each other, with the legislature rejecting much of Gov. Tony Evers’ plan and Evers using his veto authority to block a GOP proposal to study interstate highway tolling.

HERE’S HOW WE see things and it’s unlikely to draw cheers from either party.

Evers’ reliance on higher gas taxes is a fool’s errand. More fuel-efficient vehicles – not to mention electric cars – are proliferating on the roads, and so gas tax receipts inevitably will fall.

Bumping fees for registration and so forth is short-sighted and regressive.

Borrowing large sums in every biennial budget is even worse.

Miles-driven assessments seem more fair, because it would place higher costs on those who drive most and, therefore, put the most stress on roads.

Likewise, tolling on interstate highways could capture revenue from through traffic – out-of-staters who use Wisconsin highways but do not necessarily share costs.

HERE’S THE WORST case scenario, which is pretty much what we have had for many years.

Democrats want to do it one way, Republicans want to do it another, and the net result is neglect.

This is an eminently solvable situation, if the two parties would just do the right thing. Get together, hash out something fair and effective and sustainable, and get it done. Why is that too much to ask?