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Opinion | My Michigan roads plan won’t break your pocketbook

Update: Michigan Senate panel rejects Whitmer gas tax, as budget dance continues

We’ve finally heard the governor’s plan to fix Michigan’s roads – a ridiculous 45-cent per gallon tax increase she proposed during her recent budget presentation.

There’s no way I can possibly support that plan – especially when Macomb County is a donor to the state transportation system. We pay far more in taxes and registration than we get back under the state’s road funding formula, and our roads suffer as a result.

If I am going to disagree with Gov. Whitmer, then I should be prepared with my own plan. That is why I have reintroduced my roads plan in the Michigan Legislature.

First things first, let’s not wait until 2020 to fully implement the already existing road funding plan adopted in 2015, before I came to the House. The state already raised gas taxes and registration fees. Let’s commit $600 million of the state income tax to roads now, rather than waiting to until 2020, as provided under the 2015 plan. This not a tax increase; it is committing tax dollars we already collect and redirecting it to roads. House Bill 4263 is a crucial first step. 

Another key step is getting better use from our state’s investment in economic development. Potholes are one of the biggest roadblocks to Michigan’s growth. The solution: Focus more of our economic development resources on fixing our roads, which would be accomplished through my plan. I have introduced House Bill 4093, which is a good starting point to move money from the strategic fund to roads. Let’s encourage Michigan to thrive by investing in our roads.

It is time for Macomb County to stop being a donor county. We pay more into the system than we get back because of our broken road funding formula. The current road funding formula considers the length of the road ‒ but ignores the width of the road. It does not make sense to fund a two-lane road the same as you would a five-lane road. My bill, HB 4062, would be one fix to this system and more fairly distribute road funds across Michigan.

We should allow townships to take jurisdiction of their roads and receive road funding directly from the state as opposed to going through the county. Many townships already provide water and sewer systems, and it only makes sense that it would be more efficient to give townships the opportunity to coordinate roads, water and sewer in one plan. 

As for the governor’s proposal to raise the gas tax by 45 cents – Macomb County residents are already paying enough in taxes.

The 2015 road plan that came about before I came to the Michigan House hasn’t even been fully implemented yet. Before we start talking about raising taxes again, let’s prioritize road funding in the upcoming budget and fix the road funding formula which shortchanges Macomb County.

It’s time for us to govern and get this done.

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