Michigan Legislature considers infrastructure funding options

Nov 4, 2011

Lawmakers at the state Capitol are considering options to help raise more than $1 billion in additional revenue to fix and maintain Michigan’s bridges and roads. Governor Rick Snyder called on the Legislature to find the money for the state’s aging infrastructure.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said lawmakers should be able to find the additional funds without raising taxes.

“So if we talk about increases to revenues or we talk about how we fix infrastructure issues, or we acknowledge that there’s a problem, maybe in excess of a billion dollars with infrastructure and roads, that doesn’t mean we’re going to go raise taxes, it means we’re going to go tackle the problems,” Richardville said.

Some lawmakers appear to oppose Governor Snyder’s suggestion that the state raise vehicle registration fees to pay for road and bridge repairs.

But some are open to tinkering with with sales and gas taxes.

State Senator John Proos says part of the sales tax on gasoline should go toward transportation. He says that would help guarantee that Michigan get matching funds from the federal government.

“So this answers the question that has been kicked back and forth for years now in the Legislature, which is ‘in these tough budget times do we have enough money to make federal match?’ Turns out we always have had. It’s a matter of prioritization and prioritizing that money to go where I believe it belongs, which is to make sure, first and foremost, we get the federal match,” said Proos.

Proos said using fuel and sales taxes as a reliable source of road funding is complicated because the price and demand for gasoline is always in flux.