DETROIT, MI, Oct. 20, 2015—Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable representing 80 of the largest employers, and the Michigan Municipal League, which represents Michigan cities, villages and urban townships as well as several affiliate organizations, today jointly issued the following statement in response to the road funding proposals being discussed by the Michigan Legislature:
“We’ve been talking about the need to invest new dollars in Michigan’s infrastructure for four years. There have been multiple plans and several ‘close calls’ without a solution. We are at that point again,” said Doug Rothwell, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.
The Governor and legislative leaders agreed in principle to a solution that raises at least $800 million in new revenue, while using no more than $400 million in existing funds, to fix our crumbling roads, repair our deteriorating bridges, and invest in transit. Experts agree this total of $1.2 billion is the minimum level of investment needed to fix our transportation network. Business Leaders for Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League support this solution, and we support the call by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof for a conference committee vote on this solution, Rothwell said.
“Some are advocating for a solution that uses even more General Fund dollars for roads. We have serious concerns about any proposal that relies on using more than $400 million in General Fund revenues,” Rothwell said.
“Using the General Fund beyond that level isn’t sustainable and puts other critical needs at risk – ranging from potential Medicaid shortfalls and less money for community services to higher tuition bills and weaker efforts to attract jobs. These priorities are just as important as fixing potholes.” Using general fund dollars also could have a negative impact on essential services in local communities, said Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League.
“Building and maintaining a transportation network that moves both people and goods is one of government’s most basic functions and responsibilities. Taxpayers expect government to do this, but not at the expense of other critical services,” Gilmartin said. “We believe the fairest solution is one that relies on the users of our system to pay for its upkeep and repair – gasoline taxes, registration fees or similar revenue sources. Michigan needs this problem solved once and for all–and solved the right way.”
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