Funding Michigan's roads goes nowhere: Part infinity

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(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday -- nay, this morning -- Michigan lawmakers didn't pass a single bill to fund our god-awful roads. Again.

If you follow Michigan politics and spent portions of your evening checking Twitter, you likely found a stream of groans coming from our state Capitol -- reporters, lawmakers, legislative aides, everyone -- about how nothing was happening. 

And if you're wondering why this is the case -- why, that is, lawmakers can pass laws about beaver traps  or laws to make voting on ballot initiatives insane or laws to implement a meaningless welfare drug testing program, but not something for roads -- it's likely because of attitudes such as this:

See, lawmakers want you to believe it's a difficult choice to find a way to fund our road infrastructure, but in reality, it's just politics! The bill on the table that sparked the above comment would've placed a ballot proposal before voters in November, which would ask if they'd approve a 1% sales tax hike to raise $1 billion for roads. But who would want to defend that? I mean, jeez, it's way easier to just bellyache about the roads and kick the can down to the next group of suckers voted in this fall. Am I right? But, to Lennox's point, Republicans have their jobs to protect! And the majority super-majority in the Senate! Conversely, Democrats, like Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, was against it because, she says, it would impact the poorest of the state the most. Everyone agrees to disagree. The bill failed miserably in a lopsided 24-14 vote. So, a proposal to overhaul the system by replacing the current 19-cents-per-gallon gasoline and 15-cents-per-gallon diesel tax with a wholesale tax was alive, again. They've talked about this one in particular since last year. The proposed 15 percent wholesale fuel tax would generate over $1 billion annually, according to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency. (Of course, it's worth noting, according to the News, the Senate did agree to on something: They rejected a bill passed by the state House to place higher fees on heavy commercial trucks which, believe Senator Coleman Young of Detroit's remarks or not, have an impact on our roads.) Then, at 1 a.m., everyone called it quits because, you know, being a politician is hard. Right now, the Senate is back in session trying to find the votes to make this thing happen. With that said, I'd like to enter this photo into evidence as reason for jettisoning the slapstick decision to put politics over principle:
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That's a pothole patching crew truck getting stuck in a pothole. In Michigan. Which has terrible roads. With the last word, here's Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press this morning:

If Michigan lawmakers leave Lansing this week without embracing some way to boost our woeful road funding, I guess I’d prefer none of them return in the fall.

Seriously, resign. Give it up. Go find something you’re good at, because it’s clearly not legislating.

If we can’t get the House and Senate to address what voters say should be the state’s highest priority, and what anyone who drives can tell you has become a tooth-jarring, wheel-wrecking experience, then what good are their members?

Good enough to pass a useless welfare drug testing program, I suppose.


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