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Lawmakers send road funding plan to Gov. Snyder’s desk

pothole in road
Uncl3dad via Wikimedia | Public Domain image
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wikimedia.org
File photo of pothole.

After years of gridlock, state lawmakers have sent Gov. Rick Snyder legislation to boost road funding.

The Republican plan passed by the narrowest of margins in the state Senate and the House after a marathon session that went late into Tuesday night.

It raises Michigan’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees by $600 million starting in 2017.

It also eventually shifts $600 million from other areas of the state budget.

“Fixing Michigan’s roads has been a priority for years. And today we are acting to make sure Michiganders will be able to drive on good, safe roads and bridges to come,” said state Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City).

Boosting road funding by more than a billion dollars a year has been one of Snyder’s top policy goals since he took office in 2011.

He says he expects to sign the bills quickly.

“There are some time it takes to review all the bills, but I’m ready,” the governor told reporters after the vote Tuesday night.

Democrats are criticizing the plan for not spelling out which state programs will see funding diverted to pay for the $600 million hit to the state’s General Fund.

“The people are tired of paying more and getting less from their government. That is exactly what this plan does,” said state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-Lansing).

They’re also concerned about a bill that is tie-barred to the plan which could roll back Michigan’s income tax rate.

Democrats say that piece could blow big holes in future state budgets.

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