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As I See It

State, not city, should pay to fix La Crosse roads



It is another example of how poor a job the state of Wisconsin is doing in fixing our roads. The city of La Crosse could join a growing number of Wisconsin communities in adopting a wheel tax. This new tax, just in the discussion stages in La Crosse’s City Hall, would generate money to pay for local road work. No one disputes the need is there to fix our roads. Our roads are crumbling, and given the lack of state support for road work, projects are delayed and it would take about $100 million to repair roads in La Crosse County. So La Crosse is considering charging drivers a wheel tax, which Mayor Tim Kabat says could be about $20 to $25 per vehicle registered in the city, per year. That would generate the money needed to get more road work done than is currently scheduled. But such a tax would only be imposed on those whose cars are registered in La Crosse, not all who drive on our roads. It is a better idea than the tax La Crosse County proposed, as much of the revenue generated by that would be paid by city of La Crosse residents, while road repairs would be done primarily in areas outside the city. All of this finagling to find road money shows just how poor a job our state lawmakers have done in identifying a sustainable, long-term way to pay for better roads. It should not be up to cities like La Crosse to come up with ways to pay for roads. That is the state’s responsibility. Rather than adopting a wheel tax, La Crosse should pressure lawmakers to do their jobs, and figure out a way to pay for roads that don’t threaten to swallow our cars when we drive on them.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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