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The new director of the Michigan Department of Transportation says at least $1.5 billion more is needed to improve the condition of state highways, nearly double what is now being spent.

Paul Ajegba disclosed the figure in his advice-and-consent hearing before a Senate committee Tuesday. He bases it on a 2016 infrastructure report done for former Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.

Economy road sign
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Michigan's economy will keep growing but at a slower rate, resulting in stable tax revenue growth at a time new Gov. Gretchen Whitmer begins working to put her imprint on state spending.

That is among the takeaways from Friday's semiannual meeting where the state treasurer and legislative fiscal experts agreed to consensus economic and tax projections. The Democratic governor will use the numbers when drafting her first budget proposal, due to the Republican-led Legislature in March.

Michigan would close a prison to save $19 million in the next fiscal year under a budget agreement struck by lawmakers. The closure is included in a bill approved unanimously Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee.

Michigan has 30 prisons, but the number of inmates has been declining. A Department of Corrections spokesman says agency leaders do not yet know which facility will be closed during the fiscal year starting in October.

A Muskegon-area prison closed earlier this year.

Snyder, legislative leaders reach deal on next state budget

May 25, 2018

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration and key lawmakers have struck a budget deal that includes using a surplus to boost road spending, school-safety initiatives and savings. The agreement was reached Thursday. Now the leaders of individual legislative subcommittees will iron out details in coming weeks.

State budget spokesman Kurt Weiss says the deal includes an increase of more than $400 million on infrastructure spending, an additional $115 million for the "rainy day" fund and $58 million to help schools improve their security and hire more counselors.

Budget Scrabble
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers will have hundreds of millions of dollars more to budget than they expected at the turn of the year.

Legislative economists are projecting that tax collections for the current fiscal year are up by between $250 million and $340 million from estimates from January. Revenues are between $144 million and $190 million above the past estimate for the next budget year.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Michigan Senate has approved $56.6 billion budget plan that would provide the biggest increase in base aid for lower-funded school districts in a dozen years while slightly trimming a main fund that covers other state spending, largely due to a projected drop in public assistance caseloads.

The move Thursday sets the stage for further talks more than a week after the House OK'd its own plan. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature will work to finalize the next budget in June.

education funding graphic
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Michigan's public schools would receive their largest increase in base per-student funding in 17 years under a budget plan endorsed by the state House.

The Republican-controlled House approved the plan Tuesday, including a boost ranging from $120 to $240 per pupil proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Once the Senate passes a proposal and revised revenue estimates are released, a budget agreement will be finalized in June.

Rapid Silver Line bus
ridetherapid.org

Members of the American Public Transportation Association are in Washington this week. That includes the CEO of Grand Rapids’ Interurban Transit Partnership. Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid is speaking to Congress on behalf of the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA says the Trump Administration is proposing deep cuts to public transportation funding to help fund its proposed $200 billion infrastructure initiative. Varga is making the case investing in public transit supports economic growth and creates jobs.

asphalt roller photo
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A bill that would infuse $175 million more into Michigan roads and bridge this year has taken another step forward in the Legislature.

A Senate committee voted 16-0 Wednesday to send the supplemental budget legislation to the full Senate, which is expected to vote Thursday.

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Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking to boost base funding for most of Michigan's public schools by the largest dollar amount in more than 15 years. Snyder on Wednesday will ask lawmakers for a $240 per-pupil increase for school districts that get the minimum grant - a 3.1 percent boost for more than 75 percent of traditional schools and all charters. Higher-funded schools would get $120 more, a 1.4 percent increase.

Snyder also is proposing to shift $325 million in general funds to road repairs, more than double what's called for under law.

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