House Leaders Pushing Gas Tax Increase

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Michigan lawmakers are calling it an investment in Michigan's future -- an investment you may have to pay for. Some Democrat and Republican house leaders are pushing for a gas tax increase to help resurrect Michigan's roads.

"This is a tax increase and investment in roads that are built by the private sector," said Republican House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche. "This will have a direct impact on creating private sector jobs and turning our economy around."

It will also have a direct impact on your wallet. Michigan's gas tax is the 34th highest in the nation at 19 cents per gallon. The new legislation calls for a three cent increase in each of the next three years -- meaning you'd be paying 28 cents per gallon by 2010.

"The question is do we continue to fall part before our eyes or do we invest in that? Because it's keeping the businesses away from michigan," DeRoche added.

Supporters believe the improved roads will bring more businesses to Michigan and will create more jobs. But with gas prices soaring over the past month, can they justify a tax hike?

"The timing may not be right right now but we're at least putting in on the table," said House Democrat Hoon-Yung Hopgood.

The bill also calls for a 50 percent increase in vehicle registration fees. The average annual tab in michigan is $92 per vehicle, but that would change to about $140. Despite the price hike, lawmakers say there are long-term benefits -- both increases will add about $1.1 billion in revenue per year.

"We feel that this issue is important enough that we would be making an investment in Michigan's future," Rep. Hopgood said.

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