Washtenaw Reps.: Republicans Must Return for Road Solution

Legislative majority adjourned without fix for roads and bridges
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LANSING — Members of the Washtenaw County delegation – Democratic Floor Leader David Rutledge (D-Superior Township) and state Representatives Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) andAdam F. Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) – are calling on legislative Republicans to return to Lansing so that lawmakers can find a solution to Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure.

“What we’ve seen here is a failure of leadership,” Rutledge said. “Michigan drivers are saying loud and clear that they want a plan to repair our roads and bridges, and my colleagues and I now join them in saying, ‘Take a vote, not a vacation.’”

Last month, the House passed a series of bills that raised a portion of the roughly $1 billion more a year necessary to fund repairs to Michigan’s transportation system. Republicans in the Senate didn’t have the votes for this plan or one of their own. Rather than stay to find a solution, they decided to start their summer break.

“The legislation that passed the House wasn’t perfect, but it was a start,” Driskell said. “We all use these roads, and Michigan drivers are ready to pay their fair share to fix them. We are ready to work with the other side to find a solution. Hopefully, we can start by helping them find their political will.”

When it became clear that the Senate wasn’t going to find agreement on a road funding package, Republicans in the House moved to adjourn for the summer. Democrats opposed the motion, but they were outvoted.

“My Democratic colleagues and I are ready, willing and able to sit down and find a solution to our dangerously crumbling roads, but there’s only so much the minority party can do,” Irwin said. “Unfortunately, too many Republicans have promised to never raise taxes, no matter how much it will cost to let our roads crumble. That’s why Republican leaders are tied in knots, opting to hit the campaign trail rather than hammer out a compromise.”

With the Legislature adjourned until the fall, lawmakers missed increasing road funding during peak construction season. Michigan families will be forced to contend with pockmarked roads and crumbling bridges as they drive to work or take a trip, and businesses will have a harder time moving their goods to market.

“This is a problem that affects everyone in Michigan, and that’s why we’re calling on all the members of the Legislature to come back to Lansing to find a solution,” Zemke said. “Our constituents sent us here to confront the issues facing them, and it’s our job to come together reach an agreement to fix our roads.”