On June 13th, House Republicans passed a short-sighted budget that fails to provide adequate funding to improve Michigan’s dire road and infrastructure conditions. HB 4246 passed on a straight party line vote. Instead of considering Governor Whitmer’s commonsense $2.5 billion gas tax proposal, the Republican House bill floats multiple ill-advised, harmful ideas. Not only does the combination of these proposals only provide 22% of the necessary funding, but they harm other public programs in the process. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans simply ignored road funding in the 2020 budget and are seeking to design a separate plan at a later date. Both budget bills will now be reconciled in a conference committee, and we must urge Republicans in the Legislature to design a plan that responsibly fixes Michigan’s road crisis. Below are the three proposals included in HB 4246 that we must oppose:
Divert the sales tax on gas from schools and local governments to public infrastructure: The House Fiscal Agency projects that this funding shift will siphon $542.5 million from localities. In order to maintain this funding level to local schools and municipalities, the budget then redirects appropriations from the university school aid fund, further depriving our higher education institutions of necessary funding.
Transfer public transit funding to infrastructure needs: The budget includes cuts to a transit capital program that provides funding assistance to localities, and depletes funding for programs that provide transportation assistance to the elderly and disabled. As public ridership soars to historic levels, this misguided proposal could have catastrophic consequences. For example, it could force the Ann Arbor Transit Authority to eliminate routes that could result in a loss of nearly 300,000 riders per year. Furthermore, the effects of this provision will harm efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the face of climate change.
A public infrastructure “garage sale”: The budget seeks to privatize multiple state assets like welcome centers, bridges and airports. This is a short-sighted idea that will bring an uncertain, one-time infusion of revenue to an ongoing, long-term problem. This is an unsustainable solution that could ultimately deprive communities of necessary services if private corporations decide the investments aren’t profitable enough.
Call Republican Leadership demanding them to adequately, and responsibly address road funding:
Jim Stamas (R) Senate Appropriations Committee Chair – (517) 373-7946
Shane Hernandez (R) – House Appropriations Committee Chair – (517)-373-0835
Tom Barrett (R) – Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair – (517) -373-3447
Jack O’Malley (R) – House Transportation Committee Chair – (517) 373-0825
Mike Shirkey (R) – Senate Majority Leader – (517) – 373-5932
Lee Chatfield (R) – House Majority Leader – ( 517) -373-2629
Script for Call to Republican Leadership:
Hi, I am calling to urge _______ to oppose the transportation funding proposals in HB 4246 during the conference committee. In order to address our state’s crippling road conditions, we must find a dedicated, consistent funding stream. Reassigning revenue from the sales tax on gas, slashing public transit funding, and selling our state’s assets does not achieve this in any regard. In fact, these proposals will do more harm than good. Governor Whitmer’s gas tax proposal is a strong solution that will adequately fund our roads in the long term, and I strongly urge you to support this during conference negotiations. Thank you for your time.
For more information, contact: