MITA Blasts Practice of Road Funding Transfers
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Posted by: Nancy Brown
The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association expressed their opposition today to the practice of shifting funds out of the Michigan Transportation Fund to bolster the budgets of other state departments.
Legislation was approved in the Michigan House of Representatives last week that took away $10 million from road improvements in a mid-year adjustment and sent it to the Department of State. The Michigan Senate could take up similar legislation this week.
“Michigan’s struggling economy and deteriorating roads simply cannot afford to have the rug pulled out from under them once again,” said Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for MITA. “This shell game is literally highway robbery and we would hope that the Senate rejects this measure when it comes before them.”
This is not the first time constitutionally-protected transportation resources have been transferred away from the MTF to other state departments, including departments that have seen budget increases in recent years. Interdepartmental fund transfers in the 2005-2006 budget add up to approximately $44 million, which would be the equivalent of a four cent diesel tax increase.
This fiscal maneuvering takes away critical funds from an integral component of Michigan’s economic rebound to cover bureaucratic costs. It also has the domino effect of making it more difficult to attract good-paying jobs and new businesses to Michigan.
“This is yet another example of lawmakers bypassing the needs of an area that contributes greatly to our chances of an economic recovery — transportation — in favor of administrative or bureaucratic programs that won’t necessarily create a single new job,” said Nystrom. “It is ironic that at a time when state officials on both sides of the aisle criticize the federal government’s unwillingness to adequately provide for our transportation needs, they continue to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ with our own state funding.”
Nystrom also indicated that transportation advocates planned to aggressively oppose the growing practice of interdepartmental fund transfers in future budgets.
MITA represents the broad spectrum of companies, firms and suppliers that help build a better transportation infrastructure for Michigan. The organization was formed earlier this year when the Associated Underground Contractors and the Michigan Road Builders Association joined forces.