Gov. Snyder urges state House to pass gas tax increase for roads
State lawmakers have just nine or ten more session days in 2014, and still no consensus on how to raise money to help fix Michigan's roads.
With the Legislature's "lame duck" session about to start up in earnest on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder spent Monday promoting a specific road funding plan at events in Detroit and Southfield.
That plan was approved last month by the state Senate. It would effectively double the state's gasoline tax to raise up to $1.5 billion a year for roads.
"That's in the range of an acceptable solution, so that's why I encourage the House members to vote for it," said Snyder at a roundtable at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.
Snyder said lawmakers should not let debates over competing proposals get in the way of passing a plan this year.
"We've got plenty of time to do that, but we've got a solution in place. We've solved the problem. And if we can find a better solution later, that's fine. But let's not leave this year without solving the problem."
He then urged people to contact their representatives in Lansing.
"Give them the confidence, courage, and personal support to say you're going to support them - not just now, but in two years or four years - for doing the right things to invest in our roads. It's the right thing to do," said Snyder.
State House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, is lukewarm to a significant gas tax increase. He wants to replace the sales tax people pay at the pump with a tax that is dedicated to roads, which he says would raise about $1 billion dollars.
Bolger and other Republicans in the House say economic growth in Michigan is projected to increase state revenues, which could make up for the money lost to schools and local governments if the sales tax at the pump is repealed.