Effects Of Tolls On Wisconsin Business, Tourism Unclear

Jan 9, 2017

Wisconsin could make billions of dollars if the state started charging tolls for drivers to use its interstate highways. That’s according to a recent study.

Credit Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Roads could deteriorate within the next 10 years if there is no adequate funding coming in to maintain them. That’s according to a study conducted by outside group HNTB.

The state transportation department requested the study, which was released last week. That’s after Gov. Scott Walker said he planned to not charge taxes or fees for roads.

The study says the state could make anywhere between $14 billion to $41 billion from 2020 to 2050 if road tolls were enforced in Wisconsin. That’s if drivers were charged four to 12 cents per mile, which is comparable to Illinois rates.

It would take four years to implement such a program. It would apply to interstates like I-90, I-39, I-43 and I-94.

Wisconsin tourism officials say it’s too soon to tell how tolls would affect their industry. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce declined comment.