Fuel Tax Picks Up Steam
Monday, April 09, 2007
A new push to fix Michigan roads and transportation infrastructure by raising fuel taxes is expected to be announced at the Capitol today.
State Reps. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, and Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, have scheduled a news conference this afternoon to launch the proposal that would, among other things, raise the state's gas tax by 9 cents over three years. The current state tax is 19 cents per gallon.
The lawmakers will be joined by business leaders and representatives of unions and local government who have been urging action to raise more revenue for road construction, bridge repair and mass transit.
"It's obvious our system is in dire need of an infusion of investment," said Mike Nystrom of the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. Any delay, he said, means that "the deterioration continues and costs escalate."
Bipartisan support from lawmakers like Hopgood, who heads the House Transportation Committee, and DeRoche, the House minority leader, is critical. Recent polls indicate the public is leery of fuel tax hikes because of recent price increases at the pump.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm did not include a gas tax increase in her 2008 budget proposal, but has indicated she would consider one in the context of discussions over the state's overall budget crisis.