Governor Snyder talks transportation funding in Flint Friday. For more information go to justfixtheroads.com and mml.org. View more photos from the event here. Check out a Michigan Municipal League sample resolution that communities can send to lawmakers regarding road funding.
FLINT, Michigan (view photos) – Michigan Municipal League members from Flint, Durand and Grand Blanc were among more than 50 people to hear Governor Rick Snyder discuss his transportation improvement plan during an event in Flint this morning (Friday, Feb. 8, 2013). Snyder spoke to media, business leaders and municipal officials at the Genesee Regional of Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Flint.
I attended the “Just Fix the Roads” event along with League members Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, Grand Blanc City Manager Paul Brake, Grand Blanc Mayor Susan Soderstrom and Durand City Manager Amy Roddy. Also attending was State Rep. Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, and former League president.
The governor discussed the transportation portion of his budget introduced earlier this week. The budget includes the Governor’s proposal for an additional $1.2 billion in transportation funding. This revenue would come from increasing the gas tax and registration fees. Those bills were introduced last week. The League supports this incresae in funding, and we will continue to push for changes to the PA 51 formula as well to divert additional funds to communities.
Brake, Roddy, Walling and Soderstrom said they appreciated the governor coming to Flint and getting a chance to hear his plan first hand. Snyder stressed the importance of improving the Michigan’s major highways, such as I-69.
“It was great to see him highlight the work for the I-69 international Trade Corridor Coalition because this really is the future of the Michigan economy,” Walling said. “We have to be a place that is highly competitive for transportation distribution logistics. We have the infrastructure, but it’s aging and it’s not the size the effectiveness that it needs to be. The governor is right, we have to invest. A 1951 formula for our roads is not going to get the job done in the 21st Century. … Now is the time to get this done.”
“For him to come here I think he sees the need is probably the most critical in this area of the state,” Roddy said.
Brake added, “He wants to get the grass root support. He talked about how local officials and the residents need to talk to the Legislature to say ‘hey, get past these bipartisan differences and lets figure something out.’ “
Soderstrom said she liked what the governor had to say.
“I’m all for this,” Soderstrom said. “I think this is something that needs to be done. I hope they can work this through because transportation is the backbone to get the state running.”
Specifically, Snyder has proposed increasing the 19-cents-per-gallon state gasoline tax and 15-cents-per-gallon diesel tax to the equivalent of 33 cents for both — a more detailed plan than announced in his January State of the State address. After two years, the fuel tax would begin fluctuating depending on fuel consumption and construction. Annual registration fees would rise 60 percent for cars and SUVs and 25 percent for big trucks and trailers. The typical family would pay $120 per vehicle more each year in gas taxes and vehicle fees, a tough sell even if people recognize roads are in bad shape.
Snyder said Michigan will be stuck with a much larger bill in the future if lawmakers do not act. He cited repair-shop bills associated with driving on pothole-ridden roads that are dangerous for motorists and said spending more on transportation would create jobs.
The League believes that developing effective public transit options in Michigan is a necessary tool for attracting and retaining residents, workers, and businesses. Research shows that people across the nation are choosing communities that offer various modes of transportation, easy access to the places they live, work, and play, and allow them to travel without having to rely on a car. In particular, systems like streetcars and light rail have been credited with sparking new commercial and residential development.
Matt Bach is the League’s director of media relations. He can be reached at (810) 874-1073 and [email protected].