On Road to Recovery, Legislature Pressured to Fix Roads

Potholes are an ongoing issue for Michigan commuters, and the issue is the No. 1 priority for lawmakers before they leave for summer break.

If the legislature doesn't take up the road repair issue before the summer recess, another construction season may be lost. (Patch file photo)
If the legislature doesn't take up the road repair issue before the summer recess, another construction season may be lost. (Patch file photo)

The state’s House of Representatives passed a series of bills Tuesday that are proposed to pump $450 million a year into road and bridge repairs, according to the Detroit Free Press.

With Michigan having the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S history, the package will help alleviate the debt that has been accumulated, reports yahoo.com. A few of the other bills the legislature must deal with before the recess deal with Medicaid, financially strained school districts and legal assistance for criminal defendants, reports uplivenorth.com.

“Michigan’s roads have been lumpy and bumpy for years,” said Diane Walker, a resident of Detroit told patch in a phone interview Thursday. “I’m glad they’re finally ready to do something about it.”

Experts say there is a much-needed effort for the city to assess and repair the current state of the roads. While the changes will be beneficial for Michigan residents, it’ll also be costly. The Senate is seriously considering raising fuel taxes 25 cents by 2018, which will generate an additional $1.5 billion a year. However, the Republican-controlled Senate will need a significant number of Democrat votes to increase the gas tax.

“The main thing is, let/s get something done because the potholes are awful and they’re not going to get better” Gov. Rick Snyder told the Detroit Free Press.

Senate majority leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, proposed the gas tax proposal which will raise the fuel taxes starting at 9.5 percentage rate and increase each year reaching 15.5 percent by 2018.

The gas tax proposal would abolish the 19-cents per gallon tax on gasoline and the 15-cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel, and replace it with a new tax on wholesale prices for fuel.

Many business leaders are uneasy about the new proposal, Richardville told the Lansing State Journal.

“There’s a possibility, too, that we could come back and let the people vote on something different,” he told the Free Press. “However, I don’t want to go home for the summer without having some sort of mechanism to fix these roads.”

Lawmakers makers are expected to go on break for the next two weeks and if a decision isn’t made before they leave, Michigan will likely lose another construction season reports the Lansing State Journal.

Tell Us:

  • What do you think the legislature should do to fix Michigan's crumbling roads?

Beverly June 06, 2014 at 06:47 AM
POT FOR POTHOLES....Michigan should start selling pot to fund roads...I am 65 and wise
J. Michael Lenninger June 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM
Do NOT raise gas taxes as the only solution. The law of unintended consequences means it will negatively affect commerce and tourism. We don't need the potholes fixed - we need permanent solutions, ongoing fixes, and infrastructure replacement including sewer, water lines and underground utilities. A combination of fees, property tax increases and re-directing surplus to this $2 billion a year problem. This is a Chamber of Commerce issue as well. What do they recommend?
Robert June 06, 2014 at 08:39 PM
Before any new taxes are collected I want to know what the state is doing with the funds they already collect for road repairs. Dumping it into the general fund is not ethical.


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