Mayor’s wheel tax plan has some backing from Chamber of Commerce

La Crosse mayor Tim Kabat’s proposed plans for a new wheel tax in the city to fix roads has the makings of a very contentious and divisive issue.

But he has supporters for the plan — maybe none more prominent than the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber executive director Vicki Markussen explains.

“What the chamber supports in Mayor Kabat’s proposal, is that the funding would go to the roads where most of our taxpayers reside,” Markussen said.

Markussen’s group is not supportive of a county wheel tax proposal.

“The difficulty with the County’s wheel tax is, those would go towards, what most of us consider more rural roads,” Markussen said. “It would not go to any roads, for the most part, in the City of La Crosse, City of Onalaska, Holmen — the roads that we know and see.”

Kabat says he’ll propose legislation next month calling for a $25 per-eligible-vehicle wheel tax. The tax would impact roughly 41,000 cars and trucks — under 8,000 pounds — in the city, generating roughly $1 million per year funding for roads.

The county is considering a $56 wheel tax.

Markussen said the state of roads remains one of the top concerns for businesses in the area.

“We certainly want long-term solutions,” she said. “Obviously getting products to market is a major concern for those producing.”

Public sessions on the wheel tax proposal are scheduled Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 in City Hall.