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Legislative Update: MITA Announces New Lame Duck Plan; Bills Pending on Federal Stimulus, Local O

Friday, November 14, 2008   (0 Comments)
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Legislative Update: MITA Announces New Lame Duck Plan; Bills Pending on Federal Stimulus, Local Option, Contractor Statute of Limitations and Others

MITA Unveils Lame Duck Transportation Rescue Plan

In response to this week’s Transportation Funding Task Force Report (TF2), MITA announced a new $1.5 billion rescue plan to state legislators for their consideration in the current lame duck session.

Highlights of the plan include:

•    Repealing the state’s per-gallon gas and diesel taxes.
•    Creating a new 18-percent wholesale gas and diesel tax.
•    Implementing a 50-percent increase in vehicle registration fees.
•    Reforming interdepartmental grants to other state agencies.

Click here to see full details of the new MITA plan.

MITA met with the governor and Speaker of the House this week and was encouraged by the continued possibility of tackling transportation-funding options in the few remaining session days of the year.

MITA members are urged to contact their legislators and push for immediate legislative action.  Feel free to share the MITA document with every legislator you contact.


Federal Stimulus Considered on Capitol Hill

Infrastructure investment is front and center in the debate for a new federal stimulus package designed to jump-start the nation’s faltering economy.

Last year, Congress debated the possibility of a stimulus package that would include billions of dollars of new money to invest in infrastructure projects across the country.  Now that the elections are over, there is an attempt to continue those efforts.

ARTBA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are two groups strongly leading the charge, advocating for the added infrastructure investment as a job-creating tool.

Legislative leaders are trying to determine whether they can craft an investment plan that would garner support from President Bush.  If they are unable to do so, they will likely decide to delay those efforts until President-elect Barack Obama takes over the Oval Office in late January.


Local Option Bills Discussed in House Transportation Committee

The House Transportation Committee took up testimony this week on a bevy of bills that would equip local governments with new ways to pay for their roads, bridges and public transit.  Under the legislation, local voters would be able to approve a local gas tax or real estate transfer fee among other options to inject new money into the local projects.

Backers of the legislation say the new measures are part of an ongoing conversation about how to fund the state's transportation infrastructure better.

The recently-introduced legislation would allow counties to: impose a 3 cent per gallon gas tax or up to 7 cents if three adjacent counties agree to the new tax (HB 6322), install a $25 operator's license fee and $35 chauffeur's license fee (HB 6323), create a real estate transfer fee of 25 cents per $500 of a home's value (HB 6324), charge a fee for vehicle registrations equal to no more than 20-percent of the state fee (HB 6325) and set a 1- percent sales tax on goods sold in the county starting January 1, 2009 (HJR HHH).

Other bills in the package: HB 6326 is a companion bill to HB 6323 and HJR GGG* provides for a local gas tax in the Constitution.

MITA sees local options as a critical tool in having the state, federal and local governments all play a role in raising the $3 billion a year of new money required to fix our transportation system.

Statute of Limitations Bill Passes Committee

Legislation seeking to reduce Michigan’s statute of limitations for architects, engineers and contractors from six years to three years was passed unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.  MITA has been supportive of these efforts.

The legislation was necessary after a recent state Supreme Court case ruling (Ostroth v. Warren Regency) effectively doubled the period of time that a contractor could be sued for negligence.

The Senate passed SB 865 earlier this year and now the bill will go to the House floor for final consideration.


Cobo Hall and Light Rail Bills Pass House
Legislation creating a new regional entity to operate Detroit's Cobo Hall and creating a tax structure to support an expansion of the facility was passed by the state House yesterday.  The House also passed a proposal that would create a light-rail system along Woodward Avenue.

In addition to the bill creating the regional authority, other bills modify the expiration date for the current tax on alcohol in southeast Michigan that is being used to pay off the last expansion and make a related change in the liquor act.

Total renovation and expansion costs would total $280 million under the latest plan, which would be a great boost for MITA contractors.

If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at ; or Keith Ledbetter , Director of Legislative Affairs at ; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.

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