Tax and Fee Increase to Fix Roads a Tough Sell for Lawmakers
FOX 47 News
Loreen Desilets Doesn't think too highly of Michigan's roads.
"The minute you hit that Michigan line, you could be sound asleep in your car and you know you've hit Michigan roads," said Desilets.
But she thinks even less of raising taxes and fees to help fix them.
"I think it's going to cost the average person a lot," said Desilets.
Governor Rick Snyder, however, says it's necessary if the state is going to keep its roads from getting even worse.
His budget proposal calls for raising $1.2 billion in transportation funding by increasing the gas tax from 19 cents to 33 cents per gallon, and through a 60 percent increase in vehicle registration fees.
That number surprises Rebecca Lane, who says she would be willing to pay a higher fee to help with roads.
"If it went up a little bit to help with that, it's fair, but 60 percent seems like a lot," said Lane.
Alex Rosaen, of Anderson Economic Group, says although the increases may seem steep, they make sense and will help improve roads long term.
"You show that you use the roads by having a vehicle. The registration fee helps you chip in to maintain the roads that you're using," said Rosaen, the Director of Public Policy and Economic Analysis at Anderson. "The gas tax makes sense because the more you drive, the more fuel you use. The more you drive, the more you benefit from the roads. These are our existing, agreed-upon ways of funding our roads."
But these increases have to passed by the legislature, first. Bill Ballenger, of Inside Michigan Politics, says that's where the Governor could have trouble.
"Republicans don't like to raise taxes," said Ballenger. "He's gotta get votes, I think, from Democrats in the minority to make this pass because I think he's got a lot of members from his own party who are going to resist this."
To get his proposal passed, Governor Snyder needs 56 votes in the House, where Republicans have 59 seats. He also needs 19 votes in the Senate, where Republicans hold 22 seats.