No Deal on Roads, Lawmakers Off On Break
Before packing it in, the Senate held one more vote on the ninth substitute for a House bill that would have funded a fix for roads. The measure was another attempt to pass a new 19-cents per gallon gas and diesel tax.
The last time lawmakers addressed road funding on a large scale was in 1997 when they implemented that 19-cent tax on gasoline. Senate leadership said the substitute bill would have addressed one thing that measure lacked.
“All this bill did was fix the inflationary factor,” said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. “It came up with a consumer price index, indexed at the current rate of 19 cents per gallon, and then it would increase over time to make sure the road construction costs didn’t exceed inflation or that we covered that inflation.”
Richardville accused Democrats of not stepping up to do their part in getting the measure passed.
“I have a caucus of 12,” said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “He has a caucus of 26, a super majority. We should have each been able to deliver half of our caucuses. That would be 13 votes on his end. He only came up with 9. Half of my caucus is 6. I came up with 8. I am the only person that has delivered on the agreement.”
While Gov. Snyder had previously called for lawmakers to come up with more than $1 billion to maintain Michigan’s roads, he called the votes taken over the last two days ‘progress’ and said he’s looking forward to ‘relentless positive action’ on the issue when lawmakers return from break.
“Unfortunately, this is an issue I would admit that there are too much in politics going on and there has been,” said Snyder. “I’ve said for years now if we were sitting at the kitchen table as a big family and you looked at this issue, we would have solved this problem.”
All sides are saying the work is far from over on finding a long-term solution to the state’s road funding problem.
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are expected to participate in work groups over the summer in an effort to reach a deal.