Thursday, March 15, 2012
Lowboy Legislation Close to Final Approval
Legislation that MITA has worked on for several months only has one more hurdle to cross before it is signed into law. Senate Bill 582 introduced by Senator Tom Casperson would allow for lowboy trailers to operate legally regardless of transporting equipment. Currently lowboy trailers receive a special permit in order to haul equipment. This permit however is invalid at the point at which the equipment has been unloaded and the lowboy technically cannot be transported at that time. This legislation would correct that problem.
As reported previously, Senate Bill 582 passed the Senate Committee on Transportation and the full Senate unanimously late last year. MITA is pleased to report that the House Committee on Transportation this week passed the legislation out by a vote of 16 – 0. The next step in the legislative process is a vote in front of the full House of Representatives and because there has been no opposition thus far, we anticipate Senate Bill 582 being placed on the House agenda soon. From there it will be sent to Governor Snyder for his signature.
We appreciate Chairman Casperson for his sponsorship of the legislation and his push throughout the process to move this important issue forward before construction season kicks into full gear. Also, we thank Chairman Opsommer for taking up this legislation in House Transportation Committee and also the lawmakers who have voted in favor of Senate Bill 582.
Senate Appropriations Sub Committee on Transportation Hears Testimony on Need for Increased Infrastructure Funding
This week the Senate Appropriations Sub Committee on Transportation heard testimony from MITA’s Executive Vice President, Mike Nystrom and Vice President of Government Affairs, Lance Binoniemi on the need for adequate funding for our infrastructure system in Michigan. The Sub Committee is given the task of debating the Transportation budget in Michigan and the two revenue portions of the proposed $1.4 billion increase for infrastructure have been sent to the full Committee on Appropriations. MITA staff gave the Committee a detailed look at the significant decreases that revenues from the gas tax and registration fees have seen over the years; the deterioration of our roads and bridges over time, as costs rise while revenues fall; and, the grim projections of our infrastructure that would exist if Michigan continues down it’s current path.
Also discussed at the hearing were the possible solutions of raising the necessary money to adequately fund our roads and bridges. As you’ve read, the governor’s proposal is to raise the gas tax and registration fees, as those are the two main sources of revenues to the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). Other proposals that are being debated are increasing the general sales tax and dedicating the revenues to the MTF, and changing the distribution of money from the sales tax on gasoline. The stability of our entire infrastructure system relies on increases to our revenues in some fashion and the continued committee meetings that are occurring in both the House and Senate are encouraging in the sense that the discussion is happening. Now the need is for some action to come out of those discussions.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lance Binoniemi at email@example.com or call them at the MITA office at 517-347-8336.