Road Funding: For two years now, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has called for the Legislature to pass bills that would increase state spending on roads by $1.2 billion. That hasn’t happened. Our pols have intensely bickered over how exactly to increase funds and, because of their due diligence, we still don’t have a proposal on the table.
That could change, though! Earlier this year, Republicans threw their weight behind a proposal that would only raise $500 million, mostly because it didn’t raise any new taxes. Now, with some likely exiting state office for good, they may be more inclined to pass a set of bills that raises taxes on motorists, truck drivers, the whole shebang.
And perhaps now may be the best time: If the Legislature doesn’t act soon, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, arguably the most powerful lobby group in the state, has indicated it might circumvent Lansing and head straight to voters to spark a fire on the issue.
“The Michigan Chamber of Commerce hopes lawmakers will do their job and pass a comprehensive transportation funding plan in the lame duck session,” the chamber wrote in a news release last month. “However, after almost 10 years of legislative debate, hope is not a very good strategy. We need less talk and more action.”
The chamber says it’s not looking to bypass the Legislature entirely; if nothing happens by year's end, it says it would pursue a petition drive that would ask voters to tax themselves to fix our roads, which would then head to Lansing for approval.