U.S. House Approves Bill that Increases Transportation Funding for Michigan
Friday, March 11, 2005
Posted by: Nancy Brown
LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. House of Representatives advanced the Michigan Transportation Team’s goal of increased equity of highway funding for Michigan today when it passed the Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (HR 3). The measure passed by an overwhelming vote of 417 – 9 and promises to provide over $1 billion more than TEA 21 delivered to Michigan for transportation funding.
“The reaction we received from Congressmen and key staff when we met with them last week was, “We get it — fair transportation funding means more jobs, more investment and a healthier economy,” said Mike Nystrom, vice-president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and co-chair of MTT. “House approval of this legislation is a start in the right direction and we would hope that the Senate and President are not far behind in tackling this critical issue.”
A key change in this year’s House measure is the adjustment in “scope” – the ratio of programs used in the Minimum Guarantee calculation compared to the overall bill. Last Congress, the Michigan House delegation was joined by other donor state Members in trying to raise TEA LU’s “scope” from 84 percent to the current law’s 92.6 percent, but was unsuccessful in the House. This year, the delegation and the other donor state Members of the House of Representatives were successful in bringing TEA LU’s scope up to the current law’s 92.6 percent level. Changes made during negotiations held this week will deliver approximately $200 million more highway dollars annually to Michigan over the six years of this bill.
“This change in scope is critical for Michigan’s economy and transportation industry,” said Nystrom. “Congressmen Hoekstra and Ehlers deserve a ton of credit for helping address Michigan’s funding equity issue — a top priority for the MTT. Today’s progress will allow us to focus on raising the rate of return as the process continues.”
The mission of the more than 80 public and private organizations that make up the MTT is to improve Michigan’s well-known status as a “donor” state – a state which sends more federal gas tax money to the federal government than it gets in return – ¬by increasing Michigan’s fair share and getting back more of our own money. The co