Green Bay looks at implementing wheel tax to help fund road repairs

GREEN BAY, Wis. Potholes, cracks and bumps are seen on Green Bay streets, each year some repairs are made, but there's only so much money the city has to spend on roads.

Road cracks on Farlin Street in Green Bay

Green Bay’s Public Works Director, Steve Grenier, says it's hard to estimate exactly how much it would cost to fix all the city's roads, but the city has a list of places that people have asked to be fixed.

Tiffany Vega has lived in the Kennedy Park neighborhood of Green Bay for 11 years, she says her streets have been this way the entire time she's lived here.

"It's terrible actually, when I drive I have to figure out a good pathway so the tires don't get messed up, because the holes are bad," said Vega.

Alderman Bill Galvin says he's heard complaints about the city streets for years, but says little action has been taken.

"I heard about it before I ran, and I've been hearing about it, and all the alders say ‘yeah we have to do something about it,’ but I haven't really seen much come forward from city hall or from the alders other than a wheel tax," said Galvin.

Green Bay does not implement long term infrastructure planning, but nearby communities like De Pere and Howard do. Galvin believes a long term infrastructure plan is needed in Green Bay.

"I think that's forward thinking, that's the way to be, if you really want to take care of a community,” Galvin added.

"It's simply a matter of funding, and that's where the problem comes in, budgets. When we talk about fiscal restraint, there are several components to that, obviously we can’t raise taxes to the point where people can’t afford it," said Grenier.

The possible solution to this problem could be a wheel tax, which would act like a vehicle registration fee that would only be used for transportation needs. It’s still early in the process, but Grenier says there is a possibility the topic will be discussed during next Tuesday’s city council meeting.