LANSING (CBS DETROIT) – Road funding in Michigan continues to be an issue on the table for lawmakers in Lansing.
House Speak Kevin Cotter and fellow Republicans are proposing a plan for increasing the amount of long-term funding available for road repairs without raising taxes.READ MORE: ‘100K By Labor Day’ Plan Pushes Incentives To Fill Labor Shortage
“We can do it – if we have the will to prioritize,” said Cotter.
Brad Williams, with the Detroit Regional Chamber, says he appreciates that Cotter is taking road funding seriously — but he doesn’t agree with the plan.
“When we are looking at the proposal it doesn’t … appear to me, in principle, we’ve really said need to be adopted by the legislature – it doesn’t create a permanent fix and it really creates a slue of other problems by trying to take away revenue from other programs,” said Williams.
Cotter’s plan would raise more than $1 billion for roads by tapping into restricted funds that now support economic development programs such as film incentives, and casinos and the earned income tax credit for low-income families.READ MORE: Former UAW President Dennis Williams Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison
“This plan is an exercise in re-prioritization,” says Cotter, “it doesn’t mean the decision will be easy. This problem is so large that an easy solution does not exist.”
Williams acknowledges that discussion is a good first step, but says the proposal “doesn’t make sure this is any more than a one year solution,” says Williams. “It makes transportation funding subject to the annual battles in the appropriations process – just like every other state service and we’ve spent decades getting ourselves into this road funding crisis that we are finding ourselves in. It’s going to take multiple years and decades to get ourselves out of it.”
Some Democratic lawmakers say the new road plan isn’t going to “fly” with a lot of people in Michigan.
Detroit Democrat Bert Johnson says there are at least two sticking points.
“The tribal casinos are going to go crazy when they see that their money is on the chopping block – people who are earned income tax credit sympathizers and the families that it supports are going to think that’s a non-start,” said Johnson.MORE NEWS: Mayor Duggan: COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Available To Detroiters Age 12-15
Cotter says he wants to include at least parts of his plan in the budget being worked on for the fiscal year beginning October 1.