WALKER, Mich. – Bad winter weather isn’t the only factor drivers in West Michigan have to contend with, the roads themselves are in poor shape by most drivers standards.
This year, Governor Rick Snyder has made transportation funding a top priority, calling for $1.2 billion in additional money each year to fix, repair and maintain our infrastructure.
Right now, the annual budget for transportation in Michigan is $3.4 billion.
One person in charge of finding the additional money needed for repairs is State Representative Rob VerHeulen, a republican from Walker.
Two months ago Rep. VerHeulen was mayor of Walker, concerned with the roads and streets in his city.
Now, as chair of the transportation appropriations subcommittee, he’s worried about the roads across his state.
“Some of the counties, the road commissions, are abandoning pavement and going back to dirt roads,” he said.
The Governor said we can find the needed money at the pump. 19 cents per every gallon of gas we pump goes to fund state transportation already. If Governor Snyder has it his way, it will soon be 33 cents a gallon.
Rep. VerHeulen said his committee is looking at other options; Increasing fees on tires or vehicle registration, creating toll roads, or increasing sales tax through a public vote.
Rep. VerHeulen said he’s also going to take a hard look at the dollar amount the Governor is requesting.
“Where did the $1.2 billion come from? Is that the magic number? That’s where the Governor is,” he said.
However a solution is reached the transportation chairperson said one will definitely be reached by June first, when the state’s 50 billion dollar budget is finalized.