Road Funding Hits Research Phase
Friday, October 25, 2013
Funding for Michigan’s roads and bridges has hit a “research” phase after calls by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer to gather further information. Polling and focus groups were both done through the research, and several different transportation funding scenarios were tested. The goal is to give direction to legislative leaders on how they can move forward with a proposal to raise at least $1.2 billion annually in additional revenues.
Next week the leaders in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Snyder, will study the responses to the poll and focus groups to determine whether or not a solution can be found before the end of the year. Since 2014 is an election year for the House, Senate and Governor, it is unlikely that a revenue increase will be passed before the November elections. MITA staff continues to push for a long-term funding solution before the end of the year, knowing how little appetite there will be in the legislature to do anything in an election year.
There have been a number of discussions between the legislature and the Snyder administration on taking small bites of the larger pie. Some are immediately revenue neutral, but could produce more revenues in the future, as well as some cost saving measures. These items will not solve the problem, however, they will bring the overall solution a few steps closer. The items being discussed (eliminating some categories for registration fees, eliminating some registration exemptions for certain industries and placing the gas tax on a wholesale level to allow for inflationary increases) are things that should be rather uncontroversial and should be able to pass during an election year.
Positive comments in the media from all leaders suggest that there is still a chance a solution can be met before the end of the year. In addition, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met jointly with the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Transportation to hear testimony from MDOT Director Kirk Steudle on the conditions of our roads and the shortfall that exists in revenues for maintaining them. We will continue to update the members if any decisions are made in the future.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lance Binoniemi, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 517-347-8336.