LANSING — House Democrats applauded the passage today of a supplemental spending bill that will provide an additional $175 million in extra road funding immediately. House Bill 4321 will allocate resources immediately to the Department of Transportation, rather than during 2018-19 fiscal year as Gov. Rick Snyder originally proposed. Despite this victory, the new allocation falls significantly short of the amount needed to upgrade the state’s crumbling infrastructure in the short term.
“While this money is desperately needed, it’s only the beginning,” said state Rep. Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit), Democratic vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “The passage of this supplemental today admits what we have been saying all along — the 2015 roads plan was a failure. It’s time we stop passing emergency legislation like and instead start crafting real-world solutions to these issues. House Democrats are focused on Michigan’s success in the long term, and our plans, proposals and amendments always reflect that. I can only hope after today’s vote that our colleagues across the aisle will start implementing our ideas when we first introduce them, rather than when failed Republican leadership makes stopgap measures necessary.”
House Democrats have been calling for an increase in funding since it was discovered that the 2015 roads plan rushed into law by state Republican leadership in the dead of night would vastly underfund the repairs needed. Last year during the budget process, Democratic legislators proposed numerous amendments to address the state’s road crisis, yet those proposals were rejected repeatedly along party-line votes.
“The state of our roads has gone beyond embarrassing, decaying or crumbling to flat out dangerous,” said Rep. Durhal. “While it’s good the House has approved this additional $175 million, we know that’s not nearly enough. Time and again we fail to do the full measure of what is needed, which is why we proposed an amendment to the supplemental today allocating an additional $75 million, which Republicans rejected. We can’t nickel and dime our infrastructure any longer — it’s time to get serious. Rebuilding our infrastructure not only fixes roads, it puts people to work, jump-starting our economy.”