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Gov. Rick Snyder to unveil funding plan Jan. 16 to fix roads, bridges

Wednesday, January 9, 2013   (0 Comments)
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LANSING -- Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday that he will unveil a funding plan to fix the  state's roads and bridges in his third State of the State address Jan. 16.


Snyder earlier identified the need for $1.4 billion a year in additional road funding, but didn't back a specific plan for raising that money. Various bills to address the issue were advanced in the Legislature in 2012, but none became law.


After signing an unrelated bill in Lansing on Tuesday, Snyder said he would offer a specific plan for roads in his annual address to a joint session of the Legislature next Wednesday.


It's always a challenge to pass bills to raise revenue in the Republican-controlled Legislature, and Snyder's road initiative comes at a time when Democrats feel uncooperative because of right-to-work legislation and other bills that were pushed through hastily during the lame-duck session in December.


Increases to the gasoline tax, hikes to vehicle registration fees, and diverting money from the state sales tax are among the ideas that have been discussed to raise money to repair and maintain the roads and bridges.


Lance Binoniemi, vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, representing road and bridge builders, said the state's infrastructure is losing about $3 million in value each day and the problem continues to worsen.


The estimate for the extra annual amount needed to preserve what Michigan has now was updated to $1.5 billion in 2012 and is now likely closer to $1.6 billion, he said.


"There aren't a lot of new ideas or a lot of new solutions that can come about," he said. And his group and other interested groups are prepared to support whatever plan has the best chance to pass the Legislature, Binoniemi said.

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