A bill pending in the state Senate would set up a 7-member task force and a 12-member citizens advisory panel to consider long-term transportation funding options and the possible elimination of the 19-cent gas tax.
With transportation funding reliant on a per gallon gas tax that doesn’t keep up with inflation, higher gas mileage vehicles and the potential explosion of alternative fuel cars, the future looks bleak for the reliance on the gas tax as a primary source of transportation funding.
Although MITA has been advocating a comprehensive funding package this year which would include a 9-cent increase in the gas tax, we have also been talking to policymakers about the long-term problems inherent with the current funding system.
State Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jud Gilbert has agreed to lead this effort, and has proposed legislation to begin the discussion about the future of road funding in Michigan.
According to SB 59, the task force would be comprised of at least one industry representative from manufacturing, commerce, agriculture, tourism and labor. The group would consider such funding options as mileage fees, tolling and congestion pricing and would have to make recommendations for a preliminary pilot program by March 1, 2009. The Department of Transportation would be required to have the pilot program in place by July 1, 2009.
The citizens advisory committee would be made up of at least one representative of the Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Trucking Association, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Tourist Association, County Road Association, Michigan Municipal League, Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan, Michigan Concrete Paving Association and the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association.
MITA will continue to push for both an immediate transportation revenue increase as well as try to address the long-term needs of the entire system. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government & Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or Keith Ledbetter, Director of Legislative Affairs at email@example.com , or call the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.