Senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey is drafting his own solution to the road fix debate that might not include a gas tax increase, which is what the governor wants.
The Senate GOP leader argues the governor’s solution to the road fix problem, a gas tax increase, is not an original solution and one is needed, he asserts.
“We haven’t seen the best ideas yet,” insists Sen Shirkey.
But we are getting a peek at where the Senate Republican leader is headed with his plan to fix the roads that does not include a gas tax hike.
Mr. Shirkey and the House Republican Speaker Lee Chatfield are fleshing out a proposal based solely on reducing the cost of no-fault car insurance
The concept is to squeeze savings out of the system and give some of the money back to motorists but re-direct the rest of the savings into the roads.
“That’s ultimately the goal, to make sure we have some kind of reduction on the auto insurance rates and part of that reduction is gong toward fixing the roads,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt. “In order to have safer roads we’re going to need some more money.”
Republican Sen. Shirkey agrees with the governor on the amount of new revenue.
“I think the $2.5 or $2.6 billion is a number that has survived two administrations and I believe there is a consensus that that number is the right one but it’s not just about the amount, it’s also about the timing of implementing that. Those are equally important.”
Sen. Schmidt agrees it would be nice to get the roads fixed without a gas tax hike.
On the Democratic side, no one has seen the details on this latest proposal.
“The concept is a fair thing to talk about and sounds like a balanced approach but only if the details are there and I don’t know what those look like,” insists Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr.
It’s not clear when Mr. Shirkey will release this plan but he hopes to get the no-fault system changed by summer recess.