Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed into law legislation that establishes a task force and a citizens advisory committee to make recommendations on alternatives for funding transportation in Michigan.
The task force is expected to complete a preliminary report by the end of October, which may include an implementation plan to test alternatives to the fuel tax. A final report is due by April 1, 2009.
“Transportation and infrastructure are critical to our ability to transform Michigan’s economy and create jobs,” Granholm said. “We are going to work through all of the issues surrounding our transportation system, including the issues of funding, so we can move Michigan forward.”
Under Public Act 221 of 2007, the 13-member task force will include nine citizens representing the manufacturing, labor, commerce, transportation, agriculture, public transit, tourism, and aviation sectors. The task force will also include the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives, or their designees. The task force will study the state’s transportation needs and finances, including an examination of alternatives to the fuel tax, an analysis of the feasibility of those alternatives, and a recommendation on alternative user fees or non-user taxes.
The task force is likely to offer recommendations on changes to fees and taxes, as well as the distribution of transportation revenues for road, public transit, and aviation.
When the task force offers its report in October, the report may include recommendations for pilot programs to test feasible alternatives to the fuel tax. The task force will evaluate the potential of alternative strategies to replace or supplement the 19-cent state gas tax and will focus on technical strategies to put in place user or non-user pay-funding methods.
In addition to appointing the task force, Granholm will appoint an 18-member citizens advisory committee to comment on the information submitted to the task force.
Senate Bill 59 (PA 221) was sponsored by state Senator Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac) and has immediate effect.