Legislature Takes First Step To Break Transportation Funding Logjam

Speaker of the House Jase Bolger revealed a new plan to raise much needed revenue for the state’s infrastructure system at a press conference yesterday afternoon. The Speaker’s plan proposes taking the portion of the sales tax that currently goes to the General Fund, in addition to taking some of the use tax revenues as pieces of a larger plan to generate $450 million for roads, without raising taxes, in 2015. The Speaker said that amount would increase to $500 million by 2018.

The other proposals in the plan include eliminating the 19 cents per gallon tax on gas, as well as the 15 cents per gallon tax on diesel, and replacing them with a 6 percent tax on the price of wholesale fuel, which the Speaker said would raise $47 million in new revenue. Other facets of the plan include efficiency measures and increased permit fees for overweight and oversize trucks.

It is the goal of the Speaker to have a solution in place before the Legislature adjourns for their summer recess.

Below is the official statement that MITA sent out immediately following the press conference…

MITA Statement Regarding House Infrastructure Funding Plan

The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association is encouraged that the Michigan House of Representatives continues to look for ways to adequately invest in our state’s crumbling infrastructure.  For far too long this problem has been ignored, and Michigan citizens are seeing the direct result as this pothole season has cost many drivers hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs to their vehicles.

The House plan puts existing resources towards our transportation system and shifts the way fuel taxes are collected.  We are hopeful that other legislative leaders will follow the Speaker’s leadership, which has broken the logjam on this difficult issue.

Every study and analysis points to over $2 billion in real ongoing need to maintain our current system of roads and bridges.  MITA is pleased to see that investing in our infrastructure in Michigan remains a priority, but the House plan does not fully solve the problem.  We hope that the plan will begin a legislative process that results in a comprehensive, long-term solution this year.

Michigan ranks dead last in per capita spending on its roads and bridges, while other Midwest states are recognizing the importance of investing in their infrastructure. Recently, for example, Pennsylvania passed a comprehensive, long-term investment package that equates to an additional $2.4 billion annually.  This is the type of solution that Michigan needs.  A true, long-term fix is a win for Michigan, our economy and the safety of our citizens.