Construction workers rallied at the Capitol asking lawmakers to help save their jobs. They say the state's budget problems is unfairly punishing them. You can't miss them- orange barrels lining roads all across Michigan. For some, they're a sign of progress, for others an inconvenience. For one group of construction workers, those barrels represent a loss of 12,000 Michigan jobs.
Mike Nystrom, MITA VP Public Relations: "Those jobs are going somewhere else, those contractors are taking their work and finding work elsewhere."
Mike Nystrom is with the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. He says, over the next two years, the state will cut 422 million dollars in transportation funding. He feels that lost revenue will not only mean fewer jobs, but crumbling roads.
Bill Shreck, Michigan Dept. of Transportation: "Some tough decisions will have to be made at every level of government about how to keep the infrastructure up, not only for construction jobs, for also for Michigan's economy."
John Niemela, County Road Assoc. of Michigan: "If you can't get products out of a company or into a company, or products out of a farm field into the market, you lose the industry."
The group took there message to the Capitol, asking lawmakers to increase transportation funding by raising the gas tax by three cents for the next three years, raising the diesel tax and increasing vehicle registration fees. They say that will create a billion dollars a year in revenue, money they say is a necessary investment in the state's future.