Possible changes for Michigan road funding

Here are just three potential changes which could greatly affect road funding — including bike funding — throughout Michigan.

The Good

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Governor Rick Synder will call for changes to how Michigan collects tax revenues on motor vehicle fuel. Rather than collect a fixed amount per gallon sold at the pump, he is proposing a percent rate on the wholesale fuel cost. While it won’t raise taxes initially, the total taxes collected will increase with inflation and fuel price increases.

It makes sense to us.

Getting the state legislature to increase the fuel tax, something that hasn’t happened in 14 years, is difficult. The Governor’s proposal removes the need to vote on any tax increases.

The Bad

According to the Spinal Column newspaper, State Senator Howard Walker, a Republican from Traverse City, also wants to eliminate fuel taxes at the pump. He wants to replace the lost tax funding by raising the state sales tax by 1%.

That’s right. Rather than have motorists pay for roads, everyone would.

Those who drive more, say perhaps people in northern parts of the state, would pay less for their roads while those who drive less or not at all would pick up the tab. This proposal would subsidize driving more than we already do.

According to a recent national study, only 51% of road costs are paid by road users. This drop that percentage further with the difference coming from general tax sources.

The Ugly

The Washington Post has this article outlining the very real possibility that Transportation Enhancement funding could be stripped from the next federal transportation bill — or at least made optional at the state level. Enhancements represents about 2% of the total transportation bill.

Losing Transportation Enhancement funding would be devastating to bike facilities development in Michigan and across the U.S..

This is a primary source of funding for on-road improvements, like the 16 miles of new bike lanes in Southwest Detroit. This funding also supports trail development such as the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut. And finally, it’s also used for streetscaping which improves walkability while often providing bike parking.

While cyclists and others have banded together to fight off prior attacks on this funding, times are different.

Please contact your Congressperson to let them know we cannot lose Transportation Enhancements.


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One Response to “Possible changes for Michigan road funding”

  1. Dave Says:

    It is interesting to see Gov. Snyder chase the same wholesale tax reforms that Gov. Granholm could not get passed. (http://apps.detnews.com/apps/blogs/watercooler/index.php?blogid=3427) Based on the dissension in the republican ranks with Snyder on the bridge issue, I wonder if this is DOA?

    I worry that the multiple attacks on the TE funding, including the latest with Sen. Rands’ amendment to fund bridge repairs with TE funding, are gaining enough ground that, as the article states, “Advocates for the funding mandate say they will fight to preserve it, but they may already have lost the battle.” And these battles are just setting the stage for the big fight next year…

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