Michigan road agencies concerned about potential gas tax suspension

Gas tax suspension passes Michigan House 63-39
Michigan road agencies concerned about potential gas tax suspension
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:24 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Gas prices across Michigan could drop 27 cents a gallon next month if the state gas tax is suspended.

The House passed a plan Wednesday that would suspend the state gas tax for six months, but not everyone thinks the relief is worth it.

The state gas tax goes towards fixing things, like potholes, on everything from surface streets to major roads. Road agencies said they are cringing at the idea of losing the revenue it generates, even for a few months.

Related: Michigan counties call for more money to fix roads

“I’m feeling nervous is what I’ll tell you,” said Dennis Kolar, Oakland County Road Commission managing director.

County road commissions from across the state are in Lansing this week for an annual conference to share ideas. Many shared ideas Wednesday on how they’d pay for road repairs if the gas tax is suspended.

“We have projects on board that we are getting ready to start. Contractors are on board,” Kolar said. “We are nervous about how this is going to work out.”

Kolar said cities and counties could lose $750 million if the gas tax goes away for six months. He said that means drivers could be dodging even more potholes.

“We’d have to readjust our project schedules and look at what we can put off and what we can afford,” said Kolar.

State Rep. Steve Johnson said he’s proposed the suspension to help ease the pain at the pump, as regular unleaded was averaging $4.24 a gallon Wednesday in Michigan.

Drivers in Lansing said they could use the extra money.

“Everything is on a budget is more or less on a budget,” said Calvin Sanders, Sr.

“It would be nice if they lower it for a little while. I agree with that, for six months,” said Daniel Appling.

Appling said he’s not worried about the state losing money to pay for road repairs.

“It will help the people. It will help the people. I mean the state loses it but it will get it back in some kind of way,” said Appling.

Rep. Johnson said local road agencies would still get money to fix the roads. His plan uses federal COVID relief money to replace the gas tax while it’s suspended.

House Bill 5570, which passed 63-39, moves to the Michigan Senate next.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she doesn’t support suspending the state gas tax, but she called for Congress to suspend the federal gas tax Tuesday.

Read: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer calls to suspend federal gas tax

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