MITA has been working diligently in recent weeks to prepare state legislators for a mound of work when they return from the fall elections.
Because of plummeting state gas tax revenues and the resulting loss of federal matching funds, MITA has been pushing policymakers for immediate action on a transportation funding increase of at least $1 billion per year.
The governor created a citizens advisory committee (CAC) to put a price tag on the overall needs of the transportation system and created a Task Force (TF2) to propose alternatives to the state gas tax in order to raise revenues for roads.
The CAC unveiled their report several weeks ago that determined the state would need to double their current investment to nearly $6 billion per year just to provide basic system improvements. The TF2 has been working diligently since March and is scheduled to release their report on funding options by the end of October – just in time for the conclusion of state legislative campaigns. Legislators will likely resume legislative session the week after Thanksgiving and there is a window of about 10 session days to get the funding initiative passed.
MITA was the only organization in the state to get representatives on both the TF2 (Mike Nystrom) and the CAC (Keith Ledbetter).
In addition to the CAC and TF2 reports, MITA has recently:
Held meetings with Senate Leader Mike Bishop, Speaker Andy Dillon, House Republican Leader Craig DeRoche and key Granholm staff.
Engaged coalitions members like CRAM, MML, and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and asked them to complete specific assignments.
Finished up work with a soon-to-be-released Public Sector Consultants report outlining possible new funding solutions.
Begun working with TRIP to prepare a new report on key crumbling corridors in Michigan.
Requested MDOT work with UofM to unveil a new edition of their Lost Jobs study.
Worked to coordinate with MDOT to release the list of road projects that are being deleted from the 5-year plan because of lack of funds.
Started creating Michigan’s “Worst Roads” list for public release.
Planned for upcoming editorial board visits to every major daily newspaper in the state.
MITA is continuing to work diligently to ensure that pressure is put on the Legislature to tackle this issue before the end of the year. The generous financial contributors are a huge reason why this funding effort has gotten to this point and they deserve to be commended. MITA encourages everyone to contact their legislators and impress upon them the urgency of lost jobs and the need to fix our failing transportation system.
If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Keith Ledbetter, Director of Legislative Affairs at email@example.com; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.