LANSING – State Representative Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser), Democratic vice chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said today that she and her Democratic colleagues are committed to finding a sustainable, comprehensive plan to repair and maintain Michigan roads than what was passed by House Republicans on Thursday evening.
“Our roads aren’t in good shape and we need to find a solution that solves the problem without creating problems for future legislators to deal with,” said Lane. “We aren’t finished with this roads package and there are still two weeks left in Lame Duck. My Democratic colleagues and I want to pass a responsible roads plan and we will keep working hard until we do.”
On a vote of 56-53, with all Democrats and three Republicans voting no, House Republicans passed House Bill 4539 which would phase in a repeal of the 6 percent sales tax on gasoline. All gasoline tax revenue would then be dedicated to transportation. The Michigan Department of Transportation has said that they need at least $1 billion annually to just maintain our roads. This plan would not generate $1 billion in transportation revenue until 2021. By then, our roads are likely to be in significantly worse shape.
Speaker Bolger’s plan also impacts that portion of the sales tax on gasoline that is dedicated to the School Aid Fund and to revenue sharing for local units of government. In the first year of the plan, schools would lose about $65 million. In Fiscal Year 2022, when the plan is fully phased in, schools would lose about $900 million per year according to the House Fiscal Agency. Local communities would see a decrease in revenue sharing by as much as $121 million dollars annually by the time the plan is fully phased in. Revenue sharing helps to fund local police and fire services, as well as other important services residents rely on.
“Speaker Bolger’s plan that fails to find any new revenue for our roads and, instead, creates holes in the budget for schools and revenue sharing for local units of government is not the solution we’ve been working toward in committee and with our colleagues for the past two years,” said Lane. “There’s no leadership or fiscal responsibility in just shifting money around when we are facing a roads repair bill in the billions of dollars. We can and must do better.”