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Senate leader says vote on roads could happen this week

striped safety cones on a road
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Road construction along I94 in Jackson County, Michigan (file photo)

A new plan to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads could emerge in the state Senate as soon as this week.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, failed in the summer to pass legislation that would boost state road funding by more than $1 billion a year. But he says a group of lawmakers has been working on the issue for months – and he thinks this time will be different.

“We’ve decided as a caucus this is a priority,” said Richardville. “It’s not just me, but I think everybody there. And now we’ve got our sleeves rolled up. We want to get it done.”

“I’m optimistic that this body, the Senate, is going to move something over to the House very soon. Maybe as soon as next week,” he told reporters on Friday.

Richardville says some of his Republican colleagues had a tough time before this year’s election explaining to voters why the Legislature has failed to come up with money to fix the roads.

“I had people come in from being out on the campaign trail saying, ‘Wow, I wish we had gotten something done by now.’ And so I think that the people that were out there want us to take it up and to get it done.”

He has declined to say specifically how he plans to pay for the road improvements. The deal that fell apart earlier this year would have raised the state’s gas tax.

The outgoing Senate leader says he wants to address the problem before the end of the year – when he’ll be forced to leave due to term limits.