Michigan gets $215 million to repair roads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/21/2014

Michigan roads damaged during the winter weather recently got a shot in the arm.

Acting as governor, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed a mid-fiscal year 2014 budget supplemental that routes $215 million for road repairs.

“While Michigan is still in need of a comprehensive road funding and maintenance solution, the money provided in the supplemental will definitely benefit local governments and drivers as we work to fix potholes and other road problems brought on by the harsh winter,” Calley said in written remarks.

Michigan officials have described the winter season as “brutal” and said that the worsening road conditions have become a major problem throughout the state.

About $100 million will be used for treating potholes and other winter-related upkeep. The remaining $115 million is earmarked for priority construction projects that begin by July 1.

House and Senate leadership will determine which projects will be included on the priority list.

Gov. Rick Snyder said the signing of SB608 is a positive step toward improving the state’s roads. However, he said in prepared remarks that he is looking forward to a comprehensive solution to the state’s transportation needs.

“While this funding will be of great benefit in the short-term, Michigan still very much needs a comprehensive long-term solution to fix our state’s aging roads and bridges.”

The governor has called for $1.2 billion of new revenue to help address road and bridge needs – including an overhaul for how the state collects taxes at the pump.

Currently, the state’s per-gallon tax rate on fuels does not change. Lawmakers haven’t increased the 19-cent-a-gallon gas tax and 15-cent-a-gallon diesel tax since 1998.

Snyder wants to get rid of the current system and start taxing gas and diesel at the wholesale level. The change would allow tax collections to increase with inflation.

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