Skubick: Lawmakers dig in over fee hikes for roads

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made her first comments today on the opposition she is getting to a fee increase to fix the roads from the top two Republican legislative leaders.  

The new governor got a standing ovation on her first visit to the State Board of Education but  her campaign suggestion that she wanted to raise fees for the roads has not opened to a “standing O” with the Republican leadership.

Last week Sen. Mike Shirkey made it clear what he thought about hiking fees for roads. “You know the answer to that, my friend,” said the senator.

“It’s kind of a premature conversation,” said Gov. Whitmer today.

The governor is not showing any concern over the opposition from Senator Shirkey and House Republican Speaker Lee Chatfield.

During the campaign she said she wanted a road fee increase. But now as governor she is singing a different tune.
Gov. Whitmer: “I haven’t introduced anything yet.”

Skubick: “Maybe you won’t?”

Gov. Whitmer: “We’re going to have a lot of conversations. We’re just getting started. We’re one week in. We’ll make lots of news, Tim.”

If she suggests a fee increase, she will need Republican votes and a senior Republican member of the House Budget committee advises her not to introduce the fee hike.

“I wouldn’t and I’d take a hard look at what’s in the budget to see if there are more efficiencies,” said Rep. Larry Inman.

So don’t hike fees?  “Naw. I don’t think the public is in any mood to have fee increases,” answers Rep. Inman.

The governor remains committed to forging a bipartisan pkg on roads. “I’m determined to build these relationships because we have to do this together.”

The building continues tomorrow when the new legislature returns.

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