The state Legislature is taking steps to hammer out a road funding compromise in the final days of its 2014 session.
The House and Senate passed plans that are drastically different. The Senate approved legislation that would essentially double the state’s gas tax to pay for road improvements. The House plan would divert revenues from schools and local governments and would not raise any taxes.
Lawmakers took procedural steps Thursday to send the bills to a conference committee, made up of Republican and Democratic members of each chamber, to negotiate a compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says early talks with state House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, and Gov. Rick Snyder have gone well.
“All we’re doing is setting the table,” said Richardville.
“There have been no decisions made or commitments, but I do think based on the meeting that we had this morning that everyone’s committed. And I thought it was a positive exchange of ideas.”
Richardville says he is confident they will reach an agreement next week.
“I think that’s been the strength of this Legislature for the last four years … is we start off sometimes in very different places but we tend to end up in a pretty good spot,” he said.
Richardville says his goal is to hold a vote on a compromise road funding plan by Tuesday of next week.
Gov. Snyder is asking lawmakers to boost road funding by more than $1.2 billion a year. He has come out in support of the Senate-passed plan.