2014 State of the State Update
Friday, January 17, 2014
Roads A Part of “Unfinished Business” in Governor’s State of the State Address
Governor Rick Snyder once again called upon the Legislature to take action on adequately funding Michigan’s infrastructure in his annual State of the State address last night. As one of the few items categorized by the administration as “unfinished business,” the governor mentioned that over $230 million was added to Michigan’s transportation budget for fiscal year 2014. However, the one-time added dollars are not nearly enough to maintain our current system.
Governor Snyder continues to remind legislators and the public that investing in our roads and bridges now will save future repair costs to our state. It is widely recognized throughout Michigan’s Capitol that something needs to happen to increase revenues for our transportation system. However, during an election year, there is little political will to actually take a vote on anything.
Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate have made fixing our roads a priority for this year, but have not come to an agreement on how that can be accomplished. Recently, the revenue estimating conference reported that Michigan has a projected surplus of $971 million, and each and every lawmaker has a different opinion on how that can be spent. Many have suggested using most, if not all, of that surplus in repairing our roads and bridges in Michigan. Others have suggested giving the surplus back to the taxpayers in Michigan in some sort of tax relief. As the legislature considers the state’s budget over the next few months, transportation will be one of the most debated topics. MITA staff will continue to update members throughout this process.
Congress debates federal transportation budget
Earlier this week, Congress released details of a government-wide spending measure to fund all federal programs for the remainder of fiscal year 2014. Funding is expected to remain at its current level, which is better than earlier reports that there were serious considerations of significant cuts occurring.
While the bill is helpful in finalizing transportation investment for the rest of the year, it represents the last installment of MAP-21’s temporary Highway Trust Fund revenue patch. Without any action occurring to increase revenues to the Highway Trust Fund, the Congressional Budget Office projects trust fund revenues will not be able to support any new highway or public transportation investment in fiscal year 2015. If this occurs, it will be devastating to our infrastructure nationwide and the heavy construction industry as a whole.
MITA continues to work closely with the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) to educate congressional leaders on the importance of keeping the Highway Trust Fund viable.