Poll Shows Voters Are Willing to Pay More for Road Repairs

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A poll commissioned by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce shows 82% of likely voters think our roads and bridges are in "bad" shape. 75% think we're not spending enough on them. 68% are willing to pay an extra $10 a month in taxes or fees to fix them. 60% support switching to a wholesale gas tax and raising vehicle registration fees. The Chamber says it will take more than that. "Our view is that it would take both cost-saving reforms, we have to have more warranties, challenge MDOT and local road agencies to be more efficient," said Chamber C.E.O. Rich Studley. "We need to reallocate existing revenue as much as we can, but at the Michigan Chamber, we believe, and the polling shows, voters will understand it will take some new revenue." Tuesday, the state Senate Appropriations Committee will look at two ideas for generating that revenue. The first would replace the per-gallon gas tax with a 6% tax on the wholesale price, which would bring in more money when gas prices rise and drivers start conserving. The second would raise the state sales tax from 6% to 8% with all the extra revenue going to roads. It would generate an estimated $2 billion dollars a year, but would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate as well as a statewide ballot proposal.

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