Many lawmakers admit they think passing legislation to increase road funding by hundreds of millions of dollars a year is too heavy a lift in the months leading up to the November election. That’s because it will almost certainly require new revenue, which could mean some sort of increase in taxes or fees.
But state Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, thinks there will be a lot of pressure on lawmakers to act because of the brutal winter.
“I do believe in the next week or two when the roads begin to thaw and heave and frost and we get some rain, the citizenry is going to say, ‘When are you going to do something about roads?’” Meekhof said over the weekend on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.
He says he supports Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to tax gasoline based on the wholesale price of gas instead of the number of gallons sold.
“Let’s go back to the last time that we went and raised gas tax per gallon,” said Meekhof. “If we’d have done it then, we’d have about $900 million more every year. So, that should be one of the factors.”
Gov. Snyder has urged state lawmakers to boost state funding for roads and infrastructure by more than $1 billion a year. Some construction industry groups say it would take closer to $2 billion to address the problem.