road funding

Marcie Casas

Update 2:30 p.m.: Judge Christopher Yates has ruled Hewlett-Packard must hand over the source code to Michigan.

Original post:

Michigan is squaring off with technology company Hewlett-Packard over source code for an unfinished computer system upgrade.

The state hired HP in 2005 to replace the Secretary of State's computer system. The $49 million project was supposed to be finished by 2010. 

Michigan terminated its contract with HP in August, on grounds that the company had missed deadlines and failed to deliver a complete project.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will increase fuel taxes and registration fees and re-prioritize spending to raise more than $1 billion to fix roads.

I heard from several puzzled people yesterday, after Governor Rick Snyder proclaimed he would sign the road fund package the legislature narrowly passed on election night.

“I don’t get it,” one man said. “I thought the governor said that cutting the general fund by $600 million a year was too much.” Well, yes, he did say that.

A similar road funding approach fell apart barely two months ago, because the governor said he couldn’t support cuts that deep. Snyder’s press secretary, Sara Wurfel, said he was worried about “jeopardizing the state’s financial stability and comeback.”

Two things happened yesterday that starkly illustrate what’s right and what’s wrong with politics and government in this state. First, we had an election – or, more accurately, a whole flock of elections. Turnout wasn’t great, despite the beautiful weather.

But the vast majority of the voters behaved reasonably and responsibly.

Repair trucks on a Michigan road.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

A $1.2 billion road funding plan has cleared the state Senate.

The new "compromise" plan takes $600 million from existing revenues to the state's General Fund, $400 million from a seven-cent-per-gallon increase in the state's gas tax, and $200 million from an increase in vehicle registration fees.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Top lawmakers hope to reach a compromise this week on road funding bills.

The state House recently approved a $1.2 billion plan that in equal parts raises taxes and shifts money from other areas of the budget.

The Michigan Legislature may be inching toward a roads funding package. The roughly $1 billion plan would take $600 million from the state’s general fund and could include a rollback in the state income tax rate. It would also increase vehicle registration fees by 40%. While the House has passed the plan, the Michigan Senate scheduled and then delayed a vote on the plan.

Today on Stateside:

  • This week there was some optimism that the state Senate might pass a road funding plan, but it didn’t happen. Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News, joined us to talk roads.

KellyP42 / morgueFile

The stalemate over road funding continues in the Michigan Legislature.

The state Senate was expected to pass a road funding plan on Tuesday that had already been approved by the state House. But it adjourned after about eight hours of talks without a vote.

Another road funding plan is moving in Lansing but, after four years of debate, one has to wonder: has a real solution become an impossible dream?

In the state Legislature, the Senate now has the House plan. The House has the Senate plan. But, even though it’s Republicans calling the shots in Lansing, Republicans can’t agree on what to do about fixing the roads.

Wikimedia Commons

Just fix the roads already.

That's what some Michigan business leaders are all but begging Lansing to do, even if means getting behind $600 million in new taxes and fees.

But they say  that’s how bad the roads are.

"I hope that's the message that the legislators hear, that it is just that important. Because we don't take this lightly,” says Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

His group and six other chambers – mostly from West Michigan – put out a statement today demanding Lansing take “immediate action on roads.”

Thetoad / Flickr

  Republican leaders in the state Senate say they’re willing to consider a road funding plan approved late Wednesday night by the state House.

That $1 billion plan eventually raises taxes and fees by $600 million. It also makes $600 million in unspecified cuts to other parts of the budget. And the legislation includes a possible rollback in Michigan’s income tax rate.

WFIU Public Radio / Creative Commons

The state House met into the night to adopt a road-funding plan, but it seems that a final deal on paying for road repairs remains elusive.

The $1 billion package relies on new fuel taxes and vehicle fees. But half the money would also come from cutting other parts of the budget.

Governor Rick Snyder is facing a tough sell today as he tries to re-start the conversation on fixing Detroit’s schools. And, that’s just one of the political tough sells the Second Term Nerd is facing.

user westsideshooter / Flickr

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss proposed bills to eliminate gun free zones, how road funding talks have stalled again, and an update on the Flint water crisis. 

You can listen below:

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House returns this week with two fewer members.

The House expelled Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser resigned late last week due to a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

Speaker Kevin Cotter says lawmakers can focus on roads now that the scandal is no longer a distraction.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of talk (though as of yet, no action) about a long-term solution for fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

One question that comes up a lot in the surrounding debate: What role do all those heavy trucks play, and what should we do about them?

That’s the question at the heart of this edition of MI Curious, Michigan Radio’s series investigating listener questions about our state.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek looked into this question from Ethan Winter, who asked: “Why are all the weigh stations always closed?”

Once again lawmakers are starting over as another road funding plan collapsed late last week in Lansing.

What really happened?

The latest effort to come up with more than a billion dollars for roads had pitted Republicans against Republicans. The GOP has a 63 to 46 advantage over Democrats in the state House, and a 27 to 11 margin in the state Senate. Those numbers led to the idea that GOP leaders could develop a Republican-only roads solution without having to deal with the Democrats.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Jennifer White spoke to Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, about legislative progress towards a roads funding package.

Sikkema says there hasn't been real progress made and Republicans have failed to identify the cuts they would make in the state budget to pay for road improvements. He also says he thinks Republicans need to be willing to make the cuts they identify, rather than leave them for a later legislature to handle.

Contrary to what you might think, it is not true that our government in Lansing can’t do anything. Why, just yesterday, the governor reappointed four members to the Michigan Carrot Commission. 

And the state House of Representatives unanimously voted to retroactively recognize last Sunday as Airborne Day, whatever that means.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
flickr user Michael Gil /

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss another road funding plan, proposed changes for medical marijuana cardholders, and body cameras.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State lawmakers return this week from a month-long break with hopes of passing a new road funding plan.

Action on road funding has been stalled since July when lawmakers left Lansing for a month-long break. That’s after after the state House declined to take up legislation that was narrowly approved by the state Senate.

A group of unions is launching a petition drive to raise the corporate income tax rate in Michigan. But is that really their end game?

Everybody gripes about Michigan's potholes.

But in Hamtramck, a group of friends is raising money to fix their roads themselves.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A union-led petition drive is trying to increase the state’s Corporate Income Tax rate from 6% to 11%. The revenue would be used to fix roads.

Increasing the rate by 5 percentage points would generate about $900 million a year toward Governor Rick Snyder’s goal of $1.2 billion in new revenue for road repairs. It would also be a major change to the 2011 business tax overhaul engineered by Snyder and Republicans in the Legislature.

Wikimedia Commons

More than half of Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids' roads are in poor condition, according to a recent study by the transportation research group TRIP. That makes them some of the worst in the nation.

Updated story 4:38 PM:

So, there’s definitely no deal on road funding.

The state House and Senate floor managers have let it be known there will be no attendance taken and no roll call votes this week. After that the Michigan Legislature is on a break until mid-August.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House is scheduled to meet one day this week to try and reach a compromise on road funding.

If a deal doesn’t get done on Tuesday, talks may have to wait until the fall. The House is scheduled to begin a month-long break on Wednesday.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he hasn’t given up on getting a deal for more than a $1 billion in new road revenue through the Legislature. Lawmakers adjourned this week without voting on a roads package.

But, at an event in Detroit, the governor said he’s still confident a deal can come together in 2015.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There’s no road funding deal to speak of as state representatives leave Lansing for the week. That means a vote on any plan will have to wait until next week – and possibly until the fall.

It appears Republicans in the state House remain divided on whether a gas tax increase should be part of any plan to boost road funding.