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Speaker Cotter Defends Road Funding Plan from Lansing

Rick Pluta, MPRN

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter has seen no shortage of controversy since he took the lead in the legislative chamber; he struggled and then succeeded to get a roads funding package through the House, and he led a march to have fellow Republicans Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser ousted from their seats. Cotter assumed his post in the wake of a difficult set of deals navigated by then-Speaker Jase Bolger, including the so-called Grand Bargain that helped propel Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings. Since then the Republican Legislature and governor appear to be suffering a bit of fatigue over large, complex issues.

Cotter joins Detroit Today for his first sit-down interview with host Stephen Henderson. Here are the highlights from their conversation about funding for roads:

Registration fee increase: Part of the proposal from the state House would increase vehicle registration fees, which Cotter says would affect heavy commercial trucks the most. ”That hits trucks far heavier than it does passenger vehicles,” he says.

Current funding: Cotter says the current funding structure for the roads plan is untenable. ”The reason we’re in the hole we are today is because it was never indexed for inflation,” he says. “So the hole continues to get bigger and bigger.”

Taxes at the pump: Cotter says a higher traditional gas tax on a gallon of gas at the pump would not work for the state in the long run. ”What is the future of transportation going to be in this state?” he asks. ”I think we’re going to see an increase in plug-ins [vehicles] and hybrids.”

Image credit: Rick Pluta, MPRN

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