Michigan Senate In Debate Mode On Road Fund Deal - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Michigan Senate In Debate Mode On Road Fund Deal

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - Efforts to raise $1.5 billion to fix the roads continue at the state capitol.

The governor and legislative leaders are still hoping for a deal that might include putting a sales tax increase in the hands of voters in November.

And as 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick reports, the vote in Lansing has been complicated by yesterday’s vote in Virginia, where the tea party took out a sitting U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor.

“I would say there's constructive dialogue going on. The issue is we're running out of time if you look at the legislature’s schedule. It’s going to be an active day,” said Governor Rick Snyder.

There's an understatement. It was very active as the illusive deal on the roads in Michigan, believe it or not, was complicated by the vote in Virginia on Tuesday.

The tea party took out the second ranking republican in the congress, Eric Cantor.

And this republican senator believes some of his colleagues who were on the fence about voting for more road revenue will now have second thoughts given what happened in Virginia.

“Anyone with a brain in his head should understand that anyone can be beaten at any time,” said State Senator Jack Brandenburg, (r), Macomb County.

The senate was looking at a plan to raise $1.5 billion by upping the wholesale gas tax by as much as 25 cents a gallon over four years, but then giving the voters a choice.

The governor says if the gas tax is hammered out first, then he would consider placing a 1 percent sales tax hike on the ballot in November and then let voters pick one or the other.

“I don't think we should just throw the issue to the voters without having some solution and then potentially giving them an option,” said Governor Snyder.

Reporter: “In other words let the voters decide how they want to be taxed to fix the roads?”

Governor Snyder: “Well again, let's get a solution done first.”

As the day unfolded there were fears in the senate that if they voted to raise taxes for roads, what if the house killed the plan?

This conservative republican says the house has already approved a $500 million road plan and that's enough for now. But is he really saying that because he’s afraid he would lose his job if voted for more revenue?

“Not at all. I’ve taken a lot of hard issues on over the last three and a half years. This is just one more. It’s all about solutions and I think $500 million is a pretty darn good solution for the state of Michigan,” said State Representative Jeff Farrington, (r).

Reporter: “So your governor is wrong on this one?

Representative Farrington: “No, we have a disagreement.”

There’s still no resolution of the road package. The Michigan Senate continues to debate and even if it passes the bills, the Michigan House still has to check in.
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