State transportation secretary gets firsthand look at Wausau roads

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Governor Tony Evers' transportation budget includes a gas tax, a heavy truck tax and new car titling fees that will go toward improving Wisconsin roadways and public transportation.

On Thursday the Secretary of Transportation met with the Wausau Public Transit Director, to get an idea of where the roadways stand.

"This is the first time I've had the secretary in town, wanting to have a conversation about anything really. So this has been a pleasure," Wausau Transit Director Greg Seubert said.

Secretary Craig Thompson is not only in Wausau to look at the roads and transportation, but his visit is also to discuss the changes Governor Tony Evers' tax budget will bring.

"We're going to take that money and put that into fixing our roads, making them smoother and making them safer. And into our bus system so that more workers and people have more access to health care," Secretary Thompson explained.

Though some might not agree with the gas tax, it will be much cheaper than other states.

"We believe that this is a very pragmatic way to go about it. If you look at our neighbors, Minnesota is proposing a 20 cent gas tax increase. Ohio is presenting an 18 cent gas tax increase, and Michigan is proposing a 45 cent increase. So we believe that what we're proposing is a modest way to meet our needs," Thompson added.

With the tax money that is going into the public transportation budget, officials are hoping that the Wausau programs get back to the way they were.

"We would love to add back some of the service that we cut. We had eliminated Saturday service for instance, and we'd like to add that back. So we see this funding opportunity as an opportunity for our customers," Suebert said.