Conservative Think-Tank Calls for Gas Tax Hike
Monday, April 16, 2007
Posted by: Nancy Brown
Days after contractors and other business leaders told a state House panel that a gas tax increase is necessary to keep Michigan’s roads and bridges from falling apart, a Midland-based conservative think-tank has reached the same conclusion.
The report released Monday by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an organization not normally friendly to tax increases of any kind, supports bipartisan calls for increased revenue to maintain and repair Michigan’s aging and deteriorating roads and bridges. It also said that the poor condition of the state’s roads and bridges coupled with more congestion would severely hamper economic development. The report was written by John C. Taylor, Ph.D., a Mackinac Center senior policy analyst and an associate professor of marketing and logistics at Grand Valley State University.
“Maybe it shouldn’t come as such a big surprise that the Mackinac Center supports increasing the gas tax to fund our transportation needs,” said Mike Nystrom, vice president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association. “After all, the person who wrote the report has to avoid the same potholes that the average driver does when they get behind the wheel in Michigan.”
Nystrom and many others, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and organized labor, agree with the need identified in the report for increased road funding through a tax hike. The Mackinac Center recommended a two-cent per year hike over the next three years as well as indexing to allow annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index.
MITA has been calling for a three-cent increase over the same time period to help raise more transportation funds, in addition to other funding options. Legislation to that effect has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives.
“With the nine-cent proposal, we’re still just looking to keep pace with repairs on our state and local roads and bridges,” Nystrom said. “There are also significant needs with regard to expansion projects and new construction statewide.”
MITA represents a broad spectrum of underground and highway construction companies and suppliers that help build a better Michigan infrastructure from the bottom up.