Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a budget bill that accelerates spending on road repairs in time to help with the spring and summer construction season.
The bill shifts $175 million from next year’s construction season to use this coming spring and summer to fix roads.
“You’re going to see a lot of (orange) barrels in every corner of Michigan,” said Snyder.
But this spending on repairs is still not expected to keep pace with the rate at which roads are crumbling following a freeze-and-thaw winter’s that’s been brutal on pavement.
And Democrats continued to blast the plan because it does not raise new money for roads beyond what the Legislature adopted in 2015, which is widely viewed as not enough.
“Republicans have held the gavel for seven years, but can only come up with a mere Band-Aid for a crisis that happened on their watch,” said Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint). “Not to mention they’re taxing folks more at the pump and on registrations while failing to fix the problem.”
But Snyder says it’s the federal government’s turn to come up with more money to help fix Michigan’s roads.
The governor says the state has increased fees and fuel taxes and many local governments have come up with new ways to raise revenue for roads. But he says that’s not the case with federal road money.
“We’ve gone backwards with the federal government in terms of the funding we receive,” he said.
The governor says he was pleased with reports that President Trump may have endorsed a 25-cent increase in the federal gas tax in a private meeting with members of Congress.
“I think this is where we need local, state, and federal partners all working together to do things,” said Snyder. “And I think you saw President Trump talk about potentially raising the federal gas tax.”
Meanwhile, Snyder says his attention turns now on getting the Legislature to adopt new fees to pay for cleaning up pollution and improving water infrastructure.