As the Michigan Legislature winds down for the summer with only a few weeks left, several items pertaining to the heavy construction industry saw movement this week. The House Judiciary Committee passed a measure to allow camera speed enforcement in construction zones; the House Committee on Workforce, Trades and Talent passed a measure that will allow for more state employee retirees to return back to working for the State; and the Senate Transportation Committee passed a measure to repeal the sales and use taxes on motor fuel and temporarily suspend excise taxes on motor fuel.
In 17 other states across the country, camera speed enforcement is allowed and successfully slowing drivers down within road construction work zones. House Bill 5750 passed committee by an 11 – 2 margin and would allow for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan State Police (MSP) to place speed enforcement cameras within road construction work zones where deemed appropriate. The cameras would ticket individuals who are traveling 10 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit, where workers are present. A written warning would go out for the first violation, a $150 civil infraction for a second and a $300 civil infraction for a third and each subsequent violation. This is the first step in a long legislative process before this measure would become law.
Legislation that would allow for retired state employees to return to work for the state without forfeiting their retirement while they are employed was introduced and passed the House Committee on Workforce, Trades and Talent this week. HB 6132 introduced by Representative Beth Griffin could have a very positive impact for the industry as MDOT has seen a lot of talent retire from the department that might consider coming back without that penalty facing them.
In a surprise move, the Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at the end of the week passed a repeal of the sales tax, use tax and excise tax on motor fuels. The sales and use taxes on motor fuels would be a complete repeal and the excise tax would be for just a few months. MITA is strongly supportive of repealing the sales and use tax on motor fuels. Michigan is one of only seven states that assess sales tax on its motor fuel and the only state where revenues do not go to transportation. Sales tax on motor fuel is the largest hurdle in the debate on road funding, as it artificially raises the gas tax higher than most other states. However, MITA is strongly opposed to the repeal of the excise tax on motor fuel as repealing that for six months would mean a $750 million loss to the Michigan Transportation Fund. No guarantees are made that the revenues will be backfilled; and, even if they were, that money could be spent on other infrastructure priorities.
The Legislature will soon go on their summer break where lawmakers will go back to their districts and campaign before the August and November elections. We strongly encourage our members to get to know the candidates running for office and see where they stand on a long-term sustainable infrastructure funding plan. These issues will continue the legislative process when lawmakers return to Lansing in the fall.
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