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Milwaukee County official calls for excess wheel-tax revenue to be used on bus routes

Milwaukee County officials plan to use a projected $481,000 surplus in wheel-tax revenue to prevent the shutting down of nine bus routes.

County Executive Chris Abele announced on Wednesday that the county’s $30 wheel tax, a local vehicle-registration fee, was expected to bring in more money than his office had originally thought.

That additional revenue would be used to keep open nine Milwaukee County Transit System routes that were to be closed this year  because of budget reductions. Wheel-tax revenue can be used for nothing besides transportation projects, such as maintenance of roads and bridges or public-transit operations.

MCTS took a roughly $2.4 million hit in its 2018 budget after members of the Milwaukee County Board rejected Abele’s request to double the county’s wheel tax to $60. The increased registration fee would have added $15.6 million to the county’s budget in 2018.

Specifically, MCTS had to cut nearly $900,000 from its operating budget as well as $1.5 million from its capital budget.

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