LANSING – Legislative Republicans’ stunning decision to leave for summer vacation rather than stay in Lansing to find a solution for Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges is nothing short of a betrayal of Michigan citizens, House Democrats said Thursday night.
“Despite naming infrastructure repair as a top priority for three consecutive years – and despite holding the governor’s office, a House majority and a supermajority in the Senate – Republicans proved themselves to be unfit for the task of leading our state,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “Democrats in the House worked hard on a bipartisan road funding package last month that would have kickstarted repairs to our dangerous roads, but Republicans couldn’t agree to pass the bills and get the job done. This is a stunning lack of leadership, a dereliction of duty, and an absolute betrayal of the public trust.”
The Republicans’ failure means Michigan drivers and businesses won’t get the road repairs they demand anytime soon. House Democrats were willing to stay into the night, return tomorrow and next week to get the job done, but Republicans instead opted to end negotiations and leave town for a two-month summer vacation.
“Hardworking Michiganders know you don’t just get up and leave when there’s still work to be done,” said Greimel. “It’s been said that voters get the government they deserve, but nobody deserves what we’ve seen here today. The failed leadership displayed by the governor and legislative Republicans is staggering. I know that voters deserve better than this from those they elect – and voters know it, too.”
House Democrats objected to the premature adjournment of the legislative session Thursday, but Republicans opted to leave their job undone. It’s not clear when, or if, they will return to solve the problem of funding Michigan’s past due infrastructure repairs.
Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser), the Democratic vice chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, introduced House Bills 5143 and 5456 as a way to, at the very least, protect the roads from overweight trucks, and to ensure that motorists aren’t hit with higher insurance costs because of car repairs from pothole damage. House Bill 5143 would halve certain truck weight limits from 164,000 pounds to the federal standard of 80,000 pounds. House Bill 5456 would prevent insurance companies from raising auto insurance rates when a driver submits a claim from pothole damage to their vehicle. Those bills were referred to committees and haven’t yet come up for a vote.
“My bills are not answers to our road problems, but they will give motorists some relief from problems created by the majority’s inability to pass a long-term fix for our roads,” said Lane. “By passing my bills, we can at least prevent damage to our roads from overweight trucks going forward, and prevent our constituents from having to foot the bill for the majority’s negligence. We shouldn’t let insurance companies profit from the fact that they couldn’t agree on a plan to fix the roads.”