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Residents split on interstate tolls in Wisconsin

Gov. Walker says he's open to the idea
Posted at 6:17 PM, May 31, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker is open to charging tolls on interstates in Wisconsin with some conditions, but not all residents have warmed up to the idea.

The governor only would consider it if there was a gas tax decrease for Wisconsin families. The state currently has millions of dollars tied into highway projects now under construction.

State Republicans are seeking federal approval to toll interstates. Meanwhile, residents are conflicted on the idea.

"I think it's time for tolls," said John Vugrinovich.

"No it's not," said Ericka Bailey.

If approved, it could help stabilize road and bridge finances for the long term.

"It's always a mess, poor shape," said Jerry Kowalczewski.

"I've done tore my car up a couple of times because of it," said Laura Burazin.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently completed a study that showed tolls would bring in a net of $372 million for the state after infrastructure and operating costs.

River Link, a new tolling system in Louisville, Kentucky, just began about six months ago. It said it's too early to see how much drivers are spending on an annual basis but it said an average of 85,000 to 90,000 drivers cross the tolls on weekdays with a first quarter toll revenue of$ 8.6 million.

Still, the idea doesn’t resonate with everyone.

"I think we need to take a look at other ways to raise revenue aside from taking away from people who don't have much already," Bailey said.

"I personally don't like the tolls, however, if it would make a difference in the quality of the system here in the state fine," Kowalczewski said.

TODAY'S TMJ 4 reached out and state lawmakers who said it's too early to say how much an average driver would pay a year on tolls.