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DOT Secretary Gottlieb won't turn to toll roads for funding solution

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin DOT says it will not propose tollways to help cover the state's road funding shortfall.  

Department Secretary Mark Gottlieb tells the Wisconsin State Journal that his agency's next budget will include a long-term "sustainable" funding solution.

He's not saying what the agency has in mind yet. They're still reviewing comments from nine community meetings and 24 smaller business group meetings around the state, which ended in late May.  

Wisconsin has seen its fuel tax revenues drop because we're using more fuel efficient vehicles. The DOT says it adds up to a $680 million revenue shortfall in the projects planned for the next two-year budget through mid-2017.  

Of course, the state's taxing plans would depend on who's sitting in the governor's chair next February when the executive budget is proposed to the Legislature.  

Republican Scott Walker is in a close race with Democrat Mary Burke -- and she says she would have to review the budget and make "smart decisions."  

Gottlieb says he won't rule out a gas tax hike, or a fee based on how many miles you drive. He emphasized that the latter would not put a GPS on your car -- since privacy concerns have already been raised in other states where a mileage fee has come up.  

A recent Marquette poll showed support for toll roads, but Gottlieb says they'd have to be approved by Congress -- and that takes time.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)