"People aren't driving as much, which is fine that they are driving more fuel efficient cars. and that's great from an environmental standpoint; but we fund the roads with fuel taxes."
Jeff Cranson - MDOT Director of Communications
Michigan has among the worst roads in the country; they're ranked in the bottom third in the nation.
Governor Rick Snyder wants to change that by investing $1.2 billion each year to maintain the good roads and replace the bad ones.
"Failure to do so just means we are going to have really crummy roads," said Governor Snyder. "Think about the lives that would be lost, driving on roads that terrible. Think about the vehicle repair costs, think about the foregone jobs and think about that really big bill."
The Governor's office said doing nothing would end up costing the state $25 billion. The Governor said investing 12 billion over the next ten years will create 12,000 jobs.
State controlled roads in Michigan currently get a "B+" grade. 87 percent of those are rated fair or good. However county and city roads bring the states overall ranking down to a "D-" with 61 percent rated as good or fair.
The poor numbers have the Governor asking for more money to keep people moving. He said paying a smaller amount up front is better than a huge amount later.
"This is the classic, you can change your oil or you can rebuild your engine," said Gov. Snyder.
But people have issue with paying more taxes.
One way the governor will pay for the roads is a 14 cent tax increase per gallon on gasoline. That's on top of the current 19 cent per-gallon tax and 6 percent sales tax people in Michigan already pay.
The governor's office said the added fee would cost the average family an extra $120 per vehicle per year. The added tax makes some people upset.
"I hate it because everybody is struggling, everybody is taking pay-cuts and nobody can get ahead because every time you look around they want to tax people's checks and I think it's ridiculous," said Sandra Moore-Brackins, a Lansing resident.
The proposed gas tax could actually doubly impact Michigan consumers. While many might not buy diesel for $4.20 per gallon, trucks that supply stores and restaurants where people shop do and the per gallon tax on diesel is going to more than double--it's going from 15 cents to 33 cents per gallon. Consumers in Michigan can bet they will end up paying the additional cost.
The governor's office also suggests counties add a vehicle registration fee of up to 0.18 percent of the list price. Meaning if a person who purchased a car for $20,000 would pay up to an additional $36 per year for vehicle registration fees. That added tax would have to be approved locally.
Snyder says that tax would generate $280 million dollars to fix local roads and invest in public transportation.
The Michigan Department of Transportation says if drivers want better roads more money must be invested.
"We can't begin to stay at the level of good and fair condition that we are at without more investment immediately," said Jeff Cranson the Director of Communications at MDOT. "If you look at any of states around us, any of the great lake states we are the lowest per capita in spending on transportation per person; Ohio spends a billion dollars more per year on their road system."