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Roads Legislation Flawed, Time to Move Forward on Other Issues

The roads funding legislation passed Tuesday night includes steps to address the Detroit Regional Chamber’s top policy priority, however the final plan is not the one the Chamber advocated for. The legislation contains long-term sustainability issues that likely will need to be addressed in the future and includes a significant lag before adequate funding is available to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

The legislation calls for $400 million from increased fuel taxes, $200 million from higher vehicle registration fees and $600 million from the state’s general fund to eventually achieve the $1.2 billion necessary for Michigan’s roads. However, the legislation does not adequately address a comprehensive funding solution as no new revenue will be allocated to roads until fiscal year 2016-2017, when it will only generate $455 million. The full $1.2 billion will not be achieved until 2021. In the meantime, roads will continue to deteriorate, likely costing taxpayers more in the future.

The Chamber is also concerned that the $600 million allocation from the general fund to meet that $1.2 billion will greatly impact education, health care and other state services necessary to move Michigan forward. The Chamber continues to believe that the tremendous economic progress Michigan has made thanks to the leadership of the Governor is at risk if the long-term roads issue is not resolved in a manner consistent with its five principles of transportation funding.

“Michigan motorists deserve to have their roads fixed before 2017, but this appears to be the best this Legislature can do. It’s time to move on and hope the long-term sustainability issues with this plan can be addressed in the future,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Chamber.

The Governor, who has led the call to fix Michigan’s roads, is expected to sign the bill soon. The Chamber’s government relations team will continue to work with state lawmakers moving forward to ensure that both roads and other priorities critical to Michigan’s future are properly funded. Read the Detroit Free Press’ coverage of the road funding legislation.