LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder proposes raising billions of dollars to patch up Michigan’s ailing roads and bridges; the centerpiece message in his third State of the State address.
The Republican governor offered proposals meant to produce roughly $1 billion a year for road and bridge repairs, a figure that could rise in subsequent years.
State of the State Address:
“If we invest that billion dollars a year, it will create over 12,000 jobs in Michigan, that’s a lot of jobs folks, that helps the economy a lot. If we do this we done some work to say that we would save nearly 100 lives a year – a 100 lives a year – each year, and there is no price you can put on that.”
The Governor proposes to raise the money by replacing the retail tax on fuels, which has been stuck at 19 cents per gallon for gasoline and 15 cents per gallon for diesel fuel, with a wholesale tax would enable revenue to rise with inflation as the cost is passed along to motorists.
Snyder alluded to the right-to-work firestorm that brought thousands of protesters to the state capitol last month.
“At the end of the year we had a difficult time, we had a divisive period, and that’s unfortunate and I wish it wouldn’t happen,” said Snyder. “Sometimes it does happen in this world, and what I would say to all of you is — I hope we can work together, I hope we can work to avoid those kinds of situations.”
Snyder also proposed raising the statewide fee on vehicle registrations and giving local governments the authority to impose further increases for local road and street fixes.
In addition, Snyder called for moving more state social workers into troubled elementary schools, reforming Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance program to limit the amount of medical claims, establishing an agency to crack down on insurance fraud, improving mental health services and establishing a state agency to help military veterans obtain federal benefits.
Michigan’s schools continue to underperform, Snyder said. Fewer than one in five students are ready for college, and more than 60 percent of those going to community college need remedial courses. “That’s absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
He said he wanted to expand a program begun two years ago called the Education Achievement Authority, which provides resources and new learning strategies for schools with the lowest academic performance in the state. It began with 15 schools in Detroit. Snyder didn’t say how many schools should be added to the program.
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