Major Boost in Road Funding Not Likely in Michigan in 2014

Jan 20, 2014

State lawmakers return to Lansing this week with Governor Rick Snyder’s policy goals for 2014 in hand. But few are optimistic they’ll be able to pass legislation to boost road and infrastructure funding before the November election.

Despite governor’s pleas, broad road funding package looks unlikely in 2014

By Jake Neher

State lawmakers return to Lansing this week with Governor Rick Snyder’s policy goals for 2014 in hand. But few are optimistic they’ll be able to pass legislation to boost road and infrastructure funding before the November election.

Snyder has been urging the legislature to boost infrastructure spending by more than $1 billion a year. But lawmakers say voters won’t support raising taxes or fees to pay for that kind of increase.

SEE ALSO: State Transportation Director Blasts Lawmakers for Shunning Road Repairs

“We’re going to continue to make some strides. Are we going to get all the way there? No,” said state House Transportation Committee Chair Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City).

Schmidt says lawmakers will probably throw some one-time money at the problem in a stop-gap measure.

“We’ve put $350 million into roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do that. We’re going to continue to hit some singles. Maybe the home run happens next year, I’m not sure. But right now, any moneys we can put into transportation, we’re that much further ahead.”

Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), says the problem will keep getting more expensive to fix the longer lawmakers wait.

“We’re going to keep talking about the facts. And that facts is, it doesn’t fix itself,” said Steudle. “It’s got to get addressed. And we’re going to keep the pressure on to keep pushing.”

It is possible lawmakers will use part of a state budget surplus to help pay for road improvements. Governor Snyder says there should also be about $250 million in the budget this year for one-time transportation funding.