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Contact(s):
Nick Jarmusz
phone: 608-828-2495
September 04, 2018
AAA Survey Looks at Transportation Funding in Wisconsin on the 60th Anniversary of State’s First Interstate Highway

Auto Club Members Believe Current Funding Inadequate to Maintain Quality Roads
 

MADISON, Wisc., (September 4, 2018) —  AAA is committed to advancing the debate about how to best meet the challenge of maintaining a transportation system capable of serving the travel demands of Americans.  A survey recently conducted of Wisconsin AAA members reveals some startling statistics when it comes to road conditions and transportation funding.  The need for major rebuilding and rehabilitation of the state’s interstates and arterial highways is coming just as the primary funding mechanism for road maintenance – the gasoline tax – is being strained by inflation and improvements in fuel efficiency.

The revenue shortfall is already taking a toll on the roads conditions, and motorists are noticing.  Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents rated conditions on state roads and bridges as fair or poor, with only 13 percent rating them as very good or excellent.

While AAA supports recent efforts made by state lawmakers to increase funding for repairs, much of that has come in the form of borrowing against future revenues.  The state still lacks a sustainable funding solution for rebuilding major roads nearing the end of their useful lives. The survey reveals that over 70% of respondents recognize that existing state and federal revenues are not enough to maintain the roads in their current condition, and 60% believe that transportation resources are not being allocated appropriately in Wisconsin.

“Our members’ concerns echo those of motorists across Wisconsin.  They are frustrated by deteriorating roads and bridges and most believe today’s policy and spending framework isn’t getting the job done,” said Nick Jarmusz, Wisconsin Director of Public Affairs, AAA-The Auto Club Group.

Raising the gas tax, using general revenue and charging tolls on new and existing roads garnered the most support, but a clear consensus on how to increase funding for roads remains elusive.  
 

Percentage of Survey Respondents Supporting Each Funding Option  
                                     
 
Increase gasoline taxes 26%
Using general revenue to pay for transportation 25%
Charge tolls on new roads and highway lanes 21%
Charge tolls on existing toll-free roads and highway lanes 21%
Selling bonds to raise funds 18%
Charge tax based on vehicle miles traveled (e.g., road usage charge) 15%
Increase registration/plate fees 15%
Indexing the gas tax based on inflation 13%
Increase other taxes to pay for transportation (sales, income, property taxes) 9%
None, do not support any of the above 16%
 
“These results emphasize how important it is for policymakers to approach this issue with urgency and clarity,” Jarmusz said.  “There are no simple or easy solutions, but the worst thing we can do is take no action at all.”

The first segment of the Interstate Highway System in Wisconsin officially opened in Waukesha County sixty years ago, with a ribbon cutting at the junction of Interstate 94 and State Highway 16 on September 4, 1958.  Most of the state’s interstates and arterial highways were constructed over the course of the next 25 years and can no longer be effectively patched or resurfaced. 
The 2018 Wisconsin Transportation Survey was conducted online among AAA Members in Wisconsin from June 13 - 21, 2018. A total of 1,001 residents completed the survey. The survey has a maximum margin of error of ± 3.1 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender, age, and tenure to ensure reliable and accurate representation of AAA Members (18+) in Wisconsin.


The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
 


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