Time Ticking On Road Funding Plan

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

After 17 years of creating what's become an infrastructure nightmare, lawmakers have three working days to find a solution for massive road repairs.

"God created the world in what, six days? I mean we are halfway there," said Senator Randy Richardville, the Majority Leader.

If lawmakers don't find a solution, it could haunt them in November.

Richardville said next Thursday will be the last day before summer break. It's an election year and lawmakers need to connect with the people they represent.

He said of all the road funding ideas out there, he likes the hybrid best-- increase sales tax and switch gasoline to a wholesales tax.

"This to me personally is one that I think has the best opportunity to be bipartisan, the best opportunity to get the votes that we need, and to address the problem in the best possible way," said Majority Leader Richardville.

Some lawmakers fear raising taxes would unfairly hurt the working poor.

While there are lots of different ideas out there, none have gotten a huge backing, yet.

Still, the sense among lawmakers is their discussions will pay off.

"In meetings happening even as we speak, so it's kind of a 'to be determined' answer. There's a lot of momentum toward finding solutions," said Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

If you ask about what's said in those closed meetings, it's hard to get a straight answer.

"This is subject to ongoing conversations between me and the House Speaker as well as our counter parts in the Senate and the Governor, so I think it would be premature to disclose any of the nature of those conversations so far," said Representative Tim Greimel, the House Minority Leader.

"We've proven over the past couple of weeks that democrats, republicans, the house and the senate can come together and get things done when you look at the minimum wage increase or what we did to help Detroit and the pensioners down there. We can do that on roads too," said Ari Adler, the Speaker of the House's press secretary.

The question is will they do it again. We'll all know the answer in a week.

Thursday the senate approved a bill that would shift about $130 million from the state's general fund to roads. It's not new money, but does show commitment. The legislature is on recess until Tuesday.


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