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$1 billion road funding proposal clears House

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

The state House has approved a Republican plan to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year. It would shift most of the money from existing funds in the state budget.

Democrats criticized the plan. They say it relies too heavily on projected economic growth in coming years. And they strongly oppose provisions that would increase fees for alternative fuel vehicles and eliminate a tax credit for the working poor.

“If we’re filling potholes at the expense of the poor, if we are working hard to burden electronic and innovative technology for our state while not also asking the heaviest trucks to pay their fair share, this isn’t a package that I can support,” said state Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo.

“Let’s do a real proposal that asks everybody in this state – people like you and me who actually make decent money – to chip in, and not ask the poorest of the poor to be the ones that get the shaft time and time again,” said state Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids.

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, unveiled the plan after the historic failure of Proposal One. He says voters want the Legislature to prioritize existing revenues to help fix the roads.

“We have to take care of what we need before we argue about what we want,” he said.

House Republicans say the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) does not provide enough tax relief to make a real difference for low-income families.

Gov. Rick Snyder favors a large tax hike to boost road funding because it would guarantee a funding source into the future.

The state Senate is expected to unveil its own road funding plan next month.

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