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Truck weight, road bill frustration, and maybe an end to federal oversight of foster care

Massive pothole in the middle of a two-lane road.
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss a plan to help Michigan roads by cutting truck weight limits, whether any road fix plans will survive the lame duck session, and a possible end to federal oversight of the state’s foster care system.

Truck weight limits

The Michigan Senate yesterday struck down a bill that would’ve reduced the state’s truck weight limits to minimize road damage.

The Democratic plan was lawmakers’ latest stab at fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

Gov. Rick Snyder in November said passing road funding would be his top priority before lame duck wraps up this week.

Lessenberry said he suspects the governor’s frustration over lack of progress on the issue is growing.

Gas tax hike

A Senate-approved bill to raise road funds by sharply increasing Michigan’s wholesale gas tax still needs House approval.

Gov. Snyder this week put pressure on Legislators to take action on the bill before it dies at the end of the year.

Lessenberry said unless something happens in the next few days, it may be a long wait before the state’s roads see any new money.

“[The road issue] is sort of like tooth decay,” Lessenberry said. "The longer you wait to fix that cavity, the more of a problem you’re going to have.”

Foster care

The Michigan Department of Human Services yesterday filed a motion asking for an end to federal oversight of the state’s foster care system.

In 2006, the group Children’s Rights sued the state, because caseloads were too high and not enough children were finding permanent homes.

Lessenberry said Michigan could see some economic relief if the motion is approved.

“It costs a million dollars a year, maybe a little more, for all the compliance forms and everything else needed,” he said. “The state would save that money.”

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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