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SURVEY SAYS: AAA finds most Wisconsinites think roads need more money

More than 60% of Wisconsinites think the state does not put aside enough money to maintain roads in their current condition, according to a recent survey by the American Automobile Association.

The same survey found that 44% of Wisconsin residents rate their state’s roads as being in fair condition and 18% as poor condition. AAA conducted its survey from Jan. 28 to Feb. 8, gathering opinions from 408 Wisconsinites. The results have a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

The survey comes amid yet another debate about how Wisconsin should pay for road projects. Gov. Tony Evers, who took office in January, has put forward a plan that would increase the state’s gas tax by 8 cents a gallon and increase other fees and charges to bring an additional $600 million into the transportation fund.

Republicans have already begun pushing back against the proposal, especially the notion that the gas tax should be raised. But without additional money, officials in the Evers administration are warning they will be able to do little more with their time in office than manage the continued deterioration of the state’s transportation system.

In AAA’s survey, only 21% said they would not support any attempt to raise additional money for transportation. Even so, when people were given a chance to choose a way to raise revenue, none of the options presented were very popular. Only 25% said they would raise the gas tax. Even fewer would support tolling (19%), increase registration fees (18%) or collect a per-mile fee from drivers (15%).

Other recent surveys have similarly suggested that the public is not likely to embrace any proposal to increase the gas tax. A Marquette University poll released in January reported that 52% of the respondents would not support a higher gas tax.

Even amid such resistance to raising revenue, the evidence that Wisconsin’s roads are not in good shape has been abundant. The American Society of Engineers has found that more than a quarter of the state’s public roads are in “poor” shape and that drivers are paying $637 on average to repair vehicle damage related to poor road conditions.

About Dan Shaw, [email protected]

Dan Shaw is the associate editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 414-225-1807.

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