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Infrastructure funding debate heats up

January 31, 2012

(By Dave Jessup, director of government relations)

Jan. 30, 2012: A week after Gov. Snyder called on the legislature to find $1.4 billion in funding to help maintain the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, a bipartisan, bicameral package has been introduced. To raise the necessary funds, the tax on gasoline and registration fees for vehicle would both be increased.

The package has four major components, with two items in particular expected to attract a fair amount of controversy: 1) A proposed increase in vehicle registration fees, estimated to generate about half billion dollars, by increasing fees by percentages based on the value of vehicles rather than a flat dollar amount, and 2) the package seeks to eliminate the gas tax and replace it with a sales tax at the wholesale level.

What would amount to a nine cent per gallon across the board increase at the pump would generate an estimated $541 million.

Also called for is the creation of a commercial corridor fund, which is designed to ensure that more dollars flow directly to road and bridge construction and maintenance. Also in line with Gov. Snyder’s recommendation, legislation to authorize a regional transit authority for southeast Michigan (including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties) is also a major component of the overall package. The authority would be empowered to develop a high-speed system of mass transit along Woodward and Gratiot, connecting Troy with Mount Clemens and Ann Arbor with Detroit.

(photo by MSVG

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