Commission gets creative in suggesting higher road fees; Snowstorm claims third life as train hits SUV; more briefsWisconsin News
A higher gas tax, higher license and registration fees and a first-of-its-kind fee according to how many miles you drive. That’s what a special commission recommended today to come up with $6 billion it says will be needed over the next decade just to maintain the quality of Wisconsin roads.
A higher gas tax, higher license and registration fees and a first-of-its-kind fee according to how many miles you drive.
That’s what a special commission recommended today to come up with $6 billion it says will be needed over the next decade just to maintain the quality of the roads we now have.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature created the study commission to advise them on the best ways to pay for Wisconsin’s transportation needs.
The pay-as-you-drive fee was first floated a few months ago, and incoming GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently said people are generally not ready to accept the concept.
What the commission recommended was a fee of 1.02 cents for every mile a vehicle drives between 3,000 and 20,000 per year. The motorist who drives 12,000 miles a year would pay an extra $108 on the top of the gas tax, which the commission says should go up by 5%.
The commission also recommends a $20 increase in the fee for a new or renewed driver’s license plus higher annual registration fees for commercial vehicles.
Snowstorm claims third life as train hits SUV
The latest reported victim of this week’s snowstorm in Wisconsin was identified today as Erik Johnson, 20, of Kenosha.
Authorities said his SUV didn’t stop in time to avoid being hit by Amtrak’s Hiawatha passenger train. The car drove through the left ditch and then went up onto the railroad tracks where it was hit.
None of the 89 passengers and three crew members were hurt on the Hiawatha train what was going from Chicago to Milwaukee.
Sheriff’s deputies said speed, as well as the weather, was a factor in the crash. They’re still investigating.
Erik Johnson was at least the third person to be killed as a result of this week’s heavy snow and ice. Two Footville men were killed Wednesday night when their vehicle slid into an oncoming semi-truck west of Janesville.
Call goes out for blood donors
This week’s snowstorm has created a major shortage of blood.
The Blood Center of Wisconsin said lots of appointments for blood donations were canceled Thursday. As a result, the center expects a shortfall of over 1,000 units over the next several days.
All blood types are needed, but officials say there’s a particular need for “O” Negative – the universal type that’s used in emergency rooms and med-flight helicopters.
The Blood Center also has a critical need for platelets, which are used to help cancer and trauma patients recover from life-threatening injuries.
The Blood Center serves 56 hospitals in Wisconsin. It’s asking everyone to keep their scheduled appointments if they can safely do so. Others who wish to help can make appointments for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
One arrested after threat to school
One person was taken into custody for a threat of violence at Green Bay Preble High School.
Police said they became aware of the threat last night, and the apparent suspect was taken into custody this morning (Friday). Extra police are on hand at the school today.
School district officials said it was not immediately known if the threat had anything to do with a possible threat reported on Monday at Green Bay Southwest High School, which officials said was the result of a misunderstanding.
Student Services Director Barb Dorff said those at Preble had their school ID’s checked individually this morning.
A rumor about the threat was spread on Facebook, and Dorff said schools would not be shut down because of rumors.
Officials at schools throughout Wisconsin say they’ve been dealing with rumors of violence this week related to the Mayan calendar, and its indication that the world’s supposed to end today. And last week’s Connecticut shootings have resulted in numerous threats and incidents at schools around the country.
Delivered by snowplow, she’s not ready to deliver
A pregnant woman made it to a hospital in Janesville, but it took a team of first responders, three ambulance crews and a snowplow to get her there.
The woman is from Clinton, east of Beloit. Authorities said she was driving to the hospital when she got stuck just after midnight on Hwy. 14.
A team of Clinton’s first responders could not get her on her way with their ambulance. She then walked over to a private ambulance, and it also got stuck.
A third ambulance was then dispatched from the Janesville Fire Department, but it, too, got stuck. A Rock County snowplow was summoned, and the third ambulance drove behind it to get the woman to St. Mary’s Hospital in Janesville.
A hospital spokeswoman said the woman was treated for nausea, but at last word, she was not ready to have her baby yet.