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State considers tolls roads

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Governor Scott Walker says he's reluctant to propose toll roads to help pay for Wisconsin's most pressing highway projects. But he told reporters Nov. 28 that he's not ruling out toll booths as he develops a state budget plan to be submitted to the Legislature in February.

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After speaking at the Governor's Freight Industry Summit in Madison, Walker said he didn't want to burden state residents who must travel short distances - but he noted that tolls might be feasible if they make a bigger impact on out-of-state drivers.

That comment was similar to what new Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said a week ago. The Racine County Republican said he wanted tolls on multi-lane highways which are used the most by out-of-staters. That includes his own area, where Illinois drivers use I-94 for free while many of Vos' own constituents use the Illinois Tollway to get to work each day.

The DOT said more transportation revenue would be needed to avoid delays in expansions of Milwaukee's Zoo Interchange and I-39 south of Madison. Walker said he was against those delays, and he remains against raising the gas tax to provide the extra revenue.

Walker said Nov. 26 he might consider his earlier idea to create toll express lanes on the Milwaukee freeways. The federal government would have to approve any proposal for tolls.

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