Zorn: Senate passes comprehensive road solution

Bills ensure a long-term, responsible solution for better roads

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved a road funding package that would ensure a long-term funding solution for Michigan’s roads and bridges in order to repair, maintain and improve the state’s crumbling infrastructure, said Sen. Dale Zorn.

“Michigan’s transportation problems have been ignored for too long,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Today, with the Fixing MI Roads initiative, the Senate acted to solve the problems affecting our state’s crumbling infrastructure simply, responsibly and for the long-term.”

The initiative proposes a combination of new revenue and reprioritizing existing state resources, which would ensure the necessary funding for Michigan’s transportation problem.

New revenue would come from a gas and diesel tax increase that would be phased in, and implementing a road use fairness system where hybrid and electric vehicle registration would increase. The plan would also implement a fee schedule and additional taxes on alternative fuels.

The increases to the gas and diesel tax would be phased in over a three year period with successive increases of four cents in years one and two, and seven cents in year three. First, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015, drivers would pay four cents more per gallon of fuel. From Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016, the tax would rise another four cents per gallon. Finally, on Jan. 1, 2017, the tax would top off at 34 cents-per-gallon with the final seven cent increase. It is estimated a typical driver would pay about $1.59 more per week at the pump once the phase in is complete.

The proposal would also guarantee $700 million of income tax revenue annually is used for transportation purposes before it reaches the General Fund budget.

Additionally, the proposal would instill a competitive bidding program for contractors, ensure that townships could take a more active role in future road projects, and would require a future assessment and evaluation of the current system by sunsetting all gas taxes in 2033.

“This solution balances a combination of new revenue and reprioritized spending when it comes to fixing our roads. The proposal would not only fix our crumbling infrastructure, but would also guarantee we limit the growth of government by capping the income tax and reducing it every time state growth exceeds the rate of inflation,” Zorn said. “Everyone agrees Michigan’s roads are bad and getting worse, and Fixing MI Roads addresses our infrastructure issues both in the short and long term.”

For more information on the proposal, visit FixingMIRoads.com.

The bills now head to the state House of Representatives for consideration.