This week Gov. Granholm signed the state transportation budget, after a month-long delay because of wrangling over general fund tax increases.
As predicted by MITA over the past year, the state road and bridge program will see a sizeable $300 million – or 18 percent – cut due to lack of bond revenues this year. This is a reflection of a broken transportation funding system in need of desperate repair.
MITA staff and a small group of contractors met with Gov. Granholm on Wednesday to discuss the transportation-funding proposal put forward by MITA earlier this year. The discussion centered around the willingness of legislators to support a gas tax increase on the heels of the controversial approval of the sales tax on services and income tax hike. MITA staff and contractors have also been meeting recently with leaders of the legislative caucuses to put pressure on them to address the funding situation despite the difficult public relations climate.
Other highlights in the transportation budget passed this week:
* MITA was successful in getting a utility relocation amendment stripped off the budget that would allow AT&T to divert as much as $44 million in transportation dollars.
* MITA worked with Rep. Gonzales to add additional protective language limiting interdepartmental grants and transfers.
* MITA was successful in getting compromise life cycle cost language in the state budget, allowing MDOT to use pavement studies from other states when similar data was not available from Michigan.
* One area where MITA was not successful was a proposed $13 million cut in the Transportation Economic Development Fund that was enacted. Even though these dollars were not constitutionally protected, historically the money was used to aid projects needing infrastructure in order to locate or retain jobs in Michigan.
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.