A recent article discussing increased transportation funding indicated that the debate may occur during the lame duck session at the end of the year. Lame duck session is the time period between the elections, which this year occurs on November 6, and the end of the year. In addition there is also a special Senate transportation committee being established to discuss possible solutions to the funding question. When this committee meets it will be essential for MITA members to participate in the hearings. More information will be provided when dates are determined for the committee to meet. Below is a copy of the article.
Could Senate Tackle Transportation In Lame Duck?
Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) has tapped Senate Appropriations Chair Roger KAHN(R-Saginaw) to head up a new transportation group.
Richardville said he doesn’t know if it will be a special committee or a workgroup, but the plan has been to hold hearings in September.
Kahn said that if it is a committee, the other members would likely be Sens. John PAPPAGEORGE (R-Troy), Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba), John MOOLENAAR (R-Midland) and Rebekah WARREN (D-Ann Arbor). But the members could be different if it’s just a workgroup, Kahn said.
Gov. Rick SNYDER’s plan outlined in his special message last year would help kick off discussions, but Kahn said the group would cast a wide net to examine what revenue we’re bringing in and what expenditures are being made on transportation.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Kahn, noting he served on the Transportation Committee last term.
MIRS has learned that the discussion was to take action in lame duck. Richardville earlier this year advocated doing a ballot initiative for transportation funding, but he told MIRS this week, “I don’t think we’ll go quite that far.”
Another obstacle being discussed by Senate leadership is the constitutional amendment that hasn’t yet been placed on the ballot that would require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. That could put the kibosh on any plan to fix the state’s infrastructure.
Snyder has said the state needs to spend $1.4 billion annually to maintain roads. Kahn pegs that number closer to $2 billion and he notes that’s for “acceptable roads, not good roads. He said he’s open to the Governor’s proposal to move to a wholesale tax on fuel, but he’s “open to anything the people would support.”
Kahn said he doesn’t support the two-thirds amendment, just as he doesn’t back term limits.