The package of transportation-funding bills Gov. Snyder signed earlier this month sets the stage for a ballot initiative with high stakes for drivers, transit riders and Michigan’s economy.
Voters in May will have their say on a proposed 1 percent increase in the state sales tax. Along with $300 million per year in new school funding, the proposal would raise about $1.2 billion a year for roads and at least $107 million annually for the Comprehensive Transportation Fund, which supports maintenance and upgrades to public transit and passenger rail. If approved, it would be the state’s first structural increase in funding for public transportation since 1987.
Like many Michiganders, we would have preferred a full solution from the Legislature, rather than facing the added cost, delay and uncertainty a ballot initiative adds to the process. But a ballot drive is what we’ve got, and MEC fully supports its passage.
In the run-up to the May vote, we’ll use this blog to take a close look at Michigan’s transportation system and to make our case that supporting that system in its entirety—not just roads and bridges—is essential to our state’s quality of life and economic competitiveness.
In this first installment of an occasional series, we’ll explore how Michigan arrived at such a desperate need for new transportation funding, and show we’re far from alone in that need.
How we got here
It only takes a few minutes behind the wheel on most Michigan roads to see how badly we need new transportation revenue. (Drive down Pine St. in Lansing from MEC’s offices to I-496. We dare you.)
What’s going on here? Why have the roads gotten so bad? Read more