Skip to main content

Would you pay to drive through Wisconsin? You might have to

The state could earn up to $40 billion in 30 years by adding toll booths, new study says.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Some day in the future, Minnesotans may have to pay a fee to get into Wisconsin.

The state is considering adding tollways, which would make it a little more expensive for those Sunday beer runs or trips across the border to buy fireworks.

A new study by the Wisconsin DOT weighed the pros and cons of putting toll booths on major interstates like Interstate 90, Interstate 94 and Interstate 39.

The study found that adding tolls could help Wisconsin raise billions of dollars over time, though it would be expensive to install initially – anywhere from $350 to $400 million. And it would require federal approval.

The DOT said it was directed by Gov. Scott Walker and the state legislature to conduct the study as part of the 2015-17 state budget, and that the department is neither for or against tolling.

What would it be like?

If you've ever taken a road trip to Chicago, you're probably familiar with tollways – slowing down and scrounging for the right amount of change, anywhere from a couple bucks to $20.

But the DOT study focused only on tolls that would be payed electronically, using transponders linked to a driver's account (like MnPASS) or by photographing license plates and sending vehicle owners bills in the mail.

Rates would be comparable to other states like Illinois that use tolling, which the study says average between 4 and 12 cents per mile. The Pioneer Press crunched those numbers, and found it could cost you as little as $5.16 or as much as $15.48 to drive from Madison to La Crosse.

Depending on the chosen toll rate, Wisconsin could earn up to $40 billion in 30 years, the study says.

This could come in handy for the state. The study says that under Wisconsin's current transportation funding plan, state roads could get really bad over the next 10 years.

How likely is it to happen?

In order for this to happen, Wisconsin's leaders would have to agree on a toll plan. Plus, it would require changes to both state and federal law, which WPR says could be tricky because Wisconsin recently approved a constitutional amendment that protects the state's transportation fund.

Republicans, who have the majority in the state's assembly, say toll roads should be considered because then they wouldn't have to raise taxes, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. However, Democrats don't seem to be a big fan of tolling, the Journal Sentinel says.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss state transportation funding during the upcoming 2017-18 legislative session, the Star Tribune said.

If the state does decide to install tollways, it could take up to four years to get them up and running, according to the DOT study.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

MacKinnon's controversial goal helps Avalanche top Wild

Kirill Kaprizov's two goals were spoiled by a questionable call.

powell itasca jail jan 2022 resize

Attorney accused of sex assault misses hearing, DMs judge

He was arrested the next day after a warrant was issued,

lorie shaull vulcan snow park st paul winter carnival 2018

Winter Carnival: Get vaccinated or test negative before coming

Organizers are also reminding people to be mindful of the city's emergency regulations.

hospital, emergency room

Driver, 15 years old, hurt when car collides with SUV

The road was wet at the time, the State Patrol said.

Tyler Wahl

Minnesotans have the Badgers back in the national spotlight

Three of Wisconsin's four leading scorers are from Minnesota.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano retires: Remembering his meteoric rise as a rookie

There was no one better than Liriano from mid-May to late-July in 2006.

Related

No, you can't ride a motorcycle while wearing a panda head

What this guy did was illegal, the State Patrol says.

More people are taking photos and videos while driving, new survey says

State Farm says drivers know better than to use their phones, but do it anyway.

Don't drive like an idiot (and other things to remember when roads are icy)

Here are 4 things you should keep in mind while behind the wheel.

Four people killed and more injured in Wisconsin crash

Memorial Day weekend can be a dangerous time for travelers.

Minnesota is leading the way when it comes to clean fuel options

The state used a lot of clean energy options this year.

A lot of people are taking U-Hauls to Minnesota

People are packing up and moving their stuff here.

Minnesota's first electric school bus could save thousands of dollars

It's a zero-emissions electric bus, the first of its kind in the state.

Minnesota's first electric school bus could save thousands of dollars

It's a zero-emissions electric bus, the first of its kind in the state.