Michigan moves to secure road funds

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Michigan lawmakers finished their work for the year in recent days, but not before approving bills that cover road funding and distracted driving.

On its way to the governor is a bill to continue to offer help for getting more work done on Michigan roads. Fortunately for truckers and other drivers, they aren’t being asked to pay extra to cover the cost.

A year ago Gov. Rick Snyder authorized diverting some transportation-related funds for pavement work.

The change halted a $12 million deposit in road tax money to the state Transportation Economic Development Fund. The fund pays for highway, road and street improvements related to a particular new plant or development.

Instead, the revenue generated from driver’s license fees was applied to road construction and maintenance.

The House voted 70-36 on the next to last day of the regular session to send a bill to Snyder to continue the diversion for another year. Senate lawmakers already approved SB1243 by unanimous consent.

A legislative analysis shows the redirection will not affect total state revenue. The revenue will simply be shifted from one fund to another fund.

In addition, the redirection would continue to allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to match all available federal aid highway funds.

Another bill to advance from the statehouse to the governor’s desk addresses distracted driving for the state’s youngest drivers.

Dubbed “Kelsey’s Law,” SB756 would prohibit novice drivers from talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel.

The bill is named for Kelsey Raffaele. The 17-year-old from Sault Saint Marie, MI, was killed in a car crash while talking on her cellphone.

Violations would be considered a primary offense, meaning drivers could be cited solely for violating the rule.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.

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