Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Then, a few days later, FranklinNOW.com blogger Greg Kowalski wrote about toll roads, too. That’s no surprise. Greg is very reactive when it comes to my posts.
“…you really don't hear much discussion concerning relief for taxpayers on this issue. Whenever an alternative is discussed, like Illinois's tolls, it gets unanimously shot down. But what if Illinois has the right idea?”
Everyone knows the extremely unpopular idea of toll roads ranks right up there with being as desirable as banning tailgating at Lambeau Field.
“The question looms: Why are Illinois residents given free reign to use our freeways, and don't pay a penny for it?”
In Greg’s defense, he hasn’t been around long enough to possibly know the history of why Illinois has toll roads and Wisconsin does not.
Following the lead of Pennsylvania that enjoyed great success after World War II with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, other states used that state’s financing method. Several states, including Illinois, but not Wisconsin, created a toll authority to issue bonds. Revenue from the bonds provided the funds, up front, to pay for construction of the roads. Revenue from the tolls enabled the toll authority to repay bond holders with interest and pay for the administration, maintenance, and operation of the highway. Turnpikes turned up in many states, built without any Federal highway funds or other Federal tax dollars.
In the past 16 years, the feds have made provisions, as pointed out in my previous blog, to allow for more toll ways.
“So, why don't we return our friends in Illinois the favor? Why don't we have Illinois residents foot the bill on the next big interchange project in the Milwaukee area? Why have Wisconsin taxpayers partially foot the bill for freeways when tolls could cover the bill?”
There are three very, very simple reasons why tolls are an incredibly bad idea:
1) HELLO!!!! If we institute tolls, Wisconsin motorists will also have to pay them.
2) We already pay our fair share in taxes, not to mention one of the highest gas taxes in the nation to support our roads. We don’t need extra fees to pay, and what is probably the most important reason tolls are an incredibly bad, even stupid idea…
3) JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY IN WISCONSIN HATES IT!!
Hopefully, despite Greg’s affinity for the state of Illinois, he’ll understand.
You think Greg was secretly rooting for the Bears Sunday night?