Local Lawmaker Applauds House Plan To Fix Roads
June 7, 2019
A local lawmaker is applauding a GOP plan to help fix Michigan’s roads but Democrats are leery about the negative impact on schools and municipalities.
Republicans who control Michigan's House are proposing to boost road spending by dedicating the state's 6% sales tax at the pump to the transportation budget. Much of that money now goes to schools and municipalities. A House plan unveiled Thursday and given initial approval by the Michigan House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee would gradually earmark all of the sales tax on motor fuel to road construction. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's has proposed increasing fuel taxes by 45-cents-a-gallon.
Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township says the plan is a fiscally responsible solution that allows the state to use available resources to give drivers the better quality roads they deserve. Bollin says transportation budget recommendations include ensuring every penny spent on taxes at the gas pump goes directly to fixing Michigan roads and the plan would direct all sales tax revenue on gas to improve roads. She says that would add roughly $800 (m) million more per year to road repairs – without raising taxes – once fully phased in. Bollin noted the plan also provides incentive-based grants for transit agencies to help maintain safe and reliable alternative transportation opportunities.
Republicans have pledged to not hurt schools and municipalities that depend on the sales tax revenue, but Democrats have questioned how that is possible and say the plan would not raise nearly enough for roads. The school aid budget would also only increase classroom funding by about half of the $507 million proposed by Whitmer. The House plan also ignores Whitmer's request to put additional dollars towards special education, at-risk and career technical education students.
House Bill 4246 will now be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee. (JM/JK)