Gov. Whitmer Said Roads and Budget Were “Inseverable.” Two Weeks Later, That’s Changed

The governor has reached a budget deal that does not include a long-term fix for roads, leaving the future of her famous promise uncertain.

Michigan State Capitol building on a cloudy day

Recently on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the budget and roads were “inseverable” and it would be “foolish to try to separate them out.”

Now, less than two weeks later, she’s reached a deal with Republican legislative leaders to move forward with a budget with no roads plan. What does this mean for prospects of a road funding fix under divided government in Lansing?

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth and Gongwer Capitol News Service in Lansing Zach Gorchow join host Stephen Henderson to unpack the news and talk about what this means for voters who were expecting substantive changes to the state’s road funding. 

On the history of shutdowns in Lansing, Gorchow says that he doesn’t “know that the 2007 and ’09 shutdowns are what really hovered over this. On Friday, the Whitmer administration was meeting with virtually every major lobbying firm in Lansing and basically girding them for war and hitting them up for ideas,” yet he adds that in an interesting twist, “within 48 hours it was a complete 180 degree turn.” He says he thinks that at some point the governor will have to hit the reset button and come up with a new alternative for her proposed 45 cent gas tax to fix the roads. 

“I think what we are going to end up seeing, if this happens at all, is some sort of combination of a couple of the options put forward,” Roth says. “At some point it’s going to come down to what do the people want.”

Click on the player above to hear host Stephen Henderson and reporters Cheyna Roth and Zach Gorchow discuss the future of roads funding in Lansing.


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