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Governor Whitmer in Grand Rapids kicking off "Road to Opportunity Tour"

Governor Gretchen Whitmer 2019 State of the State Address

Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in West Michigan Wednesday kicking off her “Road to Opportunity Tour.” In her state budget proposal released this week it includes raising $2.5 billion dollars over 10-years to fix the state’s roads. One revenue stream is a 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike. WGVU’s caught up with Governor Whitmer at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer revealed her first proposed budget including a funding plan for fixing the state’s roads and bridges. Reaction to the $2.5 billion plan has been mixed. Business Leaders for Michigan, a roundtable of CEOs and university presidents, is in favor of raising revenues. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey agrees the roads are in need of fixing but that drivers cannot "absorb" a proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike.

“That’s what I put on the table, it’s a real solution. I know it’s jarring for some people but when we’re used to politicians telling us what we want to hear instead of doing what needs to be done the reality check is hard.”

The Governor Whitmer says she’s open to road funding ideas but that $2.5 billion dollars is what it’s going to take to get it done.

“That’s the spend level it’s going to take to fix this problem in the next 10 years. Even at that level it’s going to take 10 years to get to a place where we’re at 90 percent and that’s the federal standard. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re behind where other states are in education. We’re behind where other states are in the skills gap. We’re behind where other states are in infrastructure. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do but we’re up to it.”

Governor Whitmer is also proposing a $500 million boost in state K-12 school spending. Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.