State lawmakers have left Lansing for the holidays and won’t return until January 8th. But they already have a long list of things to do heading into 2014. One of the big jobs they’ll face will be finding money to improve the state’s roads and infrastructure.
Early this year, Governor Rick Snyder urged lawmakers to boost funding for roads by more than a billion dollars. But Snyder’s idea to raise the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees never won enough support in the Legislature – and neither did any other proposal.
Ari Adler, a spokesperson for state House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall), says that’s one of Bolger’s top priorities for his last year serving in the House. Adler points out lawmakers did use money from a budget windfall this year to help pay for some road improvements. “We put down a healthy down payment on fixing the roads and bridges in Michigan,” said Adler. “But there’s a lot of work to do – and we’re going to need the support of the public. We need to hear from them. If they really, truly want to see the roads and bridges fixed, we need some ideas on what they’re willing to accept and how much they want to put into the solution.” Adler says the public has been skeptical of any plans that include higher taxes.