LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder is stepping up pressure on lawmakers to boost Michigan’s fuel taxes to raise $1.4 billion to improve roads and bridges.
The governor on Monday released a new video his office says “illustrates the conditions of Michigan’s roads, the costs of inaction, and the benefits of investing more in our infrastructure.”
Snyder supports legislation passed by the Republican-led Senate to more than double the 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax over four years.
He said that if legislators don’t act during nine remaining voting days this year, the roads will just “get worse.” The Republican governor met with political and business leaders in Southfield Monday to discuss road funding after touring deteriorating bridges in Detroit along the Lodge Freeway.
Snyder’s office says crumbling roads and bridges have a significant impact on the state. An estimated 100 lives can be saved each year if Michigan improves its infrastructure, according to a 2012 analysis by The Road Information Program (TRIP).
“The message from every corner of our state is clear,” Snyder said, in a media release. “It’s time to fix the roads. Michiganders are tired of dodging potholes, whether it’s on the highway or in their neighborhoods. They’re fed up with getting socked with auto repair bills because Lansing has ignored the problem for too long.”
“There’s nothing Michigan can’t do, as we’ve seen these past four years. Our economic turnaround is a model for the nation. But, to achieve our full potential, we need a modern infrastructure that keeps families safe and invites investment from job creators,” Snyder said. “Let’s stop making excuses and dragging our feet. We have a plan that’s ready to go. I am asking House members to join the Senate in approving our plan. Let’s finish the job.”
Snyder has said he’s open to an alternative such as eliminating Michigan’s sales tax on gas while asking voters to increase the overall 6 percent sales tax. But he said lawmakers should first pass the Senate bill because roads won’t get better until Michigan spends more.
State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth Township, says he’s not on board with the Senate version of the bill that the governor says is good for Michigan.
“I think the Senate plan currently goes to far,” said Heise. “I think it raises too much money and with very litter assurance that all of that money is going to be going to roads.”
Heise wants assurances that all the money raised will be used exclusively for road and bridge repair.
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