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Reassigning $600 Million in State Revenue to Fix Michigan’s Roads

Roger Martin on why it’s so hard to get a roads deal: “It’s politics, Stephen. It’s fueled a lot by social media… you don’t have to wait until election day anymore to find out what your legislator did.”

 

Roger Martin, Partner at Martin Waymire, and Eric Lupher, President of Citizens Research Council, join the show to analyze the House of Representatives’ recently passed roads package that will raise $600 million for roads, but leaves some loose ends.

Reallocating Funds: The new revenue covers only half of the total expense, meaning that $600 million of Michigan’s existing budget must be reallocated to roads. Martin calls the House plan, which Snyder is pushing further, a farce. He says, “A sitting legislature cannot require a future legislature. It is illegal.”

The Obstacles: Henderson emphasizes the fact that Michigan’s roads have yet to be improved upon, despite the Governor’s efforts during the past several years. Martin says the problem lies within people’s unwillingness to vote for an increase in revenues. “It’s a state gas tax— that’s primarily how we fund our roads.” That gas tax has only been implemented once in the last 31 years. He adds that historically, roads have had dedicated funds; thus, they have been able to avoid the budget lobbying process until now. 

State Services: Henderson says other state services already pressed for money. Lupher says this makes it even more difficult to decide which funds to take from. He says, “This is a zero sum game at this point for the roads to get more money, it means someone’s getting less.” 

 

 

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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