Senate GOP to unveil road funding measure

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A plan from Republicans in the state legislature to fund much-needed road repair in Michigan is expected to be released this week.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said his plan will include a wholesale gas tax and closing loopholes regarding registration fees, among other things.

But will it fly? Gov. Rick Snyder, who has for two years called for an additional $1.2 billion in road funding, said he hopes it will.

“I’m supportive of the senator really looking at raising additional revenue,” Snyder, attending the opening of a new design center in Kalamazoo, said Monday. “The House passed a package that was helpful, had a number of reforms, really started the process going. So I thank the House for their work. But I appreciate the senator’s leadership about saying we need more revenue. … We had a bad pothole season and I think that made the point to our citizens we were under-investing in our roads. Let’s get it  done right.”

The House bill to which the governor referred would generate extra funds — perhaps $500 million annually — from the existing budget. But news estimates of lower revenue could complicate that.

Richardville’s plan will generate more revenue, but it’s not clear how much or how it will be raised.  Those details should become available when the plan is revealed Wednesday.

The road plan and a recent unexpected deal to raise the state’s minimum wage will both have to garner significant Democratic votes in order for majority Republicans to support them. They don’t want Democrats to be able to say Republicans raised taxes in an election year.

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