The wheel tax to support a better and more progressive transit system has raised some understandable concerns because it’s a flat tax regardless of income, miles driven or vehicle cost. Often overlooked, however, are the state Legislature’s limitations on revenue.
In 2010, we were poised to have a regional transit authority with a 0.5% sales tax, and the Legislature cancelled that option -- and have since legislated further revenue restrictions.
The transit system would increase equity and services to many people most in need and who have mobility or income issues. Under discussion as well is rebating part of the fee or providing free bus passes to those most in need.
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Less understandable is that in 2015, there was much less outcry over Madison’s utility raising fixed fees by more than $100 a year -- more than double the wheel tax. Adding to the insult was that high energy users actually paid less for their energy.
At least the wheel tax will enhance services for some most in need -- and help lower our carbon footprint from transportation. Perhaps low-income residents should ask Madison Gas and Electric Co. for lower fees.
Don Ferber, Madison