Transportation groups weigh in on GOP plan

Transportation groups weigh in on GOP plan

Transportation groups in Wisconsin aren’t saying much yet about the new Assembly Republican plan to pay for roads.

The far-reaching plan would cut income taxes to move toward a flat tax, reduce the gas tax, impose the sales tax on fuel sales and make a host of other changes to bring in about $660 million more in revenue.

Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association is a statewide alliance of 400-plus transportation stakeholders. Director Pat Goss says group members are still reviewing the plan, but they appreciated it was the first “new significant transportation revenue increase in nearly a decade.”

Transportation Development Association director Craig Thompson calls it a “good starting point.”

But Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca calls the plan “half baked” that gives tax breaks to the richest people in the state.

Fitzgerald cautious on new roads plan

Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is being cautious about a new road-funding plan put forward by Assembly Republicans.

And Gov. Scott Walker’s spokesman is even more cautious, saying the plan is still being reviewed.

Fitzgerald said in a statement that the Assembly GOP plan “contains a number of good ideas that are worth a closer look.”

Fitzgerald is working on an alternative plan that would tap more money from the state’s main account to pay for roads. The Assembly plan would not do that.

Democrats assailed the new Assembly plan as unfair to workers and small businesses.

The complex and far-reaching plan would cut the gas tax and numerous income tax credits to move toward a flat tax rate of nearly 4 percent, no matter a person’s income.

Republicans say cost at pump should be same

Assembly Republican leaders say they don’t think their plan to transform how roads are paid for in Wisconsin would not result in a difference in price at the pump, but they can’t guarantee it.

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga and other Republicans unveiled the plan on Thursday. Kooyenga says there are too many variables to know if the complex plan will result in gas being more or less expensive, but he expects it to be about flat.

The plan does numerous things, including cutting the gas tax by 5 cents a gallon, applying the 5 cent sales tax to gas sales and cutting income taxes to move toward a flat tax.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the plan is another starting point for more negotiations with Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Republicans.