Skubick: Republican lawmakers respond to Whitmer’s road funding plan

Michigan

A major new development as we are learning for the first time that Republican lawmakers are responding to the governor’s request that they give her a long term road  plan that would fix local roads.  

It’s the latest turn in the long road funding debate.

Ever since her 45-cent gas tax plan to fix the roads went down in flames, the governor has been cajoling Republican lawmakers to come up with their own plan to fix local roads.

Governor Whitmer says, “the legislators who care about local roads and want to do funding, need to get serious and come to the table with a real alternative to what I put on the table last year.”

And for the first time senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey is trying to do just that.

“The senate is working very specifically on a partner plan to the governor to induce and enhance funding for roads,” says Sen. Shirkey.

But will it raise new revenue?

The senator answers with, “it very likely will. I can’t guarantee it but it likely will. It’s not off the table, let’s put it that way.”

Mr. Shirkey and the House Republican Speaker Lee Chatfield have formed a so-called informal work group.

“We’re working closely with the House. We are meeting weekly,” explains Sen. Shirkey. “It will be disproportionately direct money to local roads.”

No one is releasing any details but it’s a good bet Speaker Chatfield is pushing hard to refunnel all of the sales tax collected at the pump into roads.

And Mr. Shirkey has talked about raising the sales tax to get more road fix dollars.

The governor says she is open to any serious plan but they have not talked to her yet.

“We have to get agreement amongst ourselves first,” explains Sen. Shirkey.

And he hopes to have that within three weeks. 

While there is no deal, the governor will be pleased that perhaps soon there could be one.

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