LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The end of the lame-duck session is looming, and the state legislature still hasn’t come up with a plan to raise the money to fix Michigan’s roads.
Gov. Rick Snyder says the state needs to devote an additional $1.2 billion to roads each year for the next decade to bring them up to par. No one seems to dispute that figure. What is in question is how to come up with the money. The Senate has passed a bill that would double the state’s gas tax over the next four years. The House has passed one that would shift taxes to raise the cash.
The legislature created a conference committee to work out a deal, but nothing came out of that committee Monday.
The clock is ticking. This week is the last of the lame-duck session. After this, lawmakers won’t be back in Lansing until the new year, and the makeup of the legislature will have changed as newly-elected representatives are installed.
“A lot of us feel like we can’t go home without a solution, so I’m ready for a compromise if that’s what it takes,” Republican Rep. Joe Haveman of Holland, the House Appropriations chair, told 24 Hour News 8 Monday.
So where do the negotiations stand?
“I believe it is a good faith negotiation,” Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe said. “The governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker (of the House), myself and the two minority leaders met throughout the weekend.”
They didn’t reach a deal, but both sides seem optimistic.
“It seems like we’re still in limbo a little bit. I think the Senate, both leaderships; the House, both leadership of Democrats and Republicans; the House minority leader and the governor are all in one place. We’re just waiting for one important piece to come together and say they’re willing to do a comprehensive fix of the roads,” Rep. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said.
But can they do it in about the next 72 hours?
Ananich says yes.
“About … 71 hours from now, we’ll pass a road bill. That’s what seems to happen. We wait right till the last minute, something cobbles together and things get figured out. But the longer we wait, the harder it becomes,” he said.
The House will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday for the first of the final three days of the session.