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Gov. Whitmer says people's safety is at stake in debate over road funding

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

Governor Gretchen Whitmer used the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island to lobby for her proposal for a 45 cent increase in the fuel tax to pay for road repairs. She challenged Republicans to offer an alternative if they don’t like her plan.

She says the two and a half billion dollar price tag is big because the problem has been ignored for so long.

“This is a serious issue that is very dangerous and we need to get serious about fixing it,” says Whitmer. “I didn’t create this problem, but I am determined to make sure that we solve it under my watch, so that we can grow our economy and make sure this a place where our young people stay and our businesses can thrive.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation says a third of Michigan’s roads will be in poor condition within two years. Whitmer says she’s particularly concerned about the condition of Michigan’s bridges.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is the state of our bridges and the potential of a real catastrophe happening here,” she says.

The governor says she’s willing to bargain with Republicans on a plan, but she says right now, hers is the only proposal on the table.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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