Deal Reached On Emergency Road Money, But No Solution For Medicaid Shortfall

Mar 12, 2014

Michigan lawmakers to double money spent on roads
Michigan lawmakers to double money spent on roads
Credit commons.wikimedia.org

State lawmakers will probably double the amount of money they had planned to spend on fixing roads torn apart by nasty weather this winter.

A legislative conference committee hopes to approve a mid-year budget bill Tuesday that will probably include about $200 million to fix potholes and help local governments pay for things like salt and snow plowing.

"It's not just to reimburse or to pay for snow removal and salt and sand and things like that," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, "but also there's going to be some significant problems when the thaw comes, and we want to be ready for that."

But legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder are still hammering out some last-minute details of the bill. And the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee says politics could still get in the way of something getting done.

"There's still an issue out there as to whether or not there's still going to be road projects that are - basically, you pick and choose, and basically pick and choose Republican projects. And that's a problem to us," said Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland.

Richardville says the budget bill will probably not address a shortfall in the state's Medicaid budget. The state Senate voted last month to fill the hole of more than $100 million with money from a state budget surplus. But Republican leaders in the House are looking to address the issue with a controversial bill to overhaul Michigan's no-fault auto insurance system.

Some lawmakers say state risks putting health care for low-income residents at risk if it does not balance the Medicaid budget.