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Alternate road-funding plans discussed at summit

Posted at 10:26 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 23:07:18-04

LANSING, Mich. — A sold-out summit to discuss Michigan's crumbling roads was held in Lansing Thursday morning.

The Fixing Michigan's Road Mess Solutions Summit began at 9:00 a.m. and ran until 11:00 a.m. at the Lansing Center.

Mayor Andy Schor of the City of Lansing was on the panel of state and regional leaders.

Others included: Bob Emerson, co-chair of the Michigan Consensus Policy Project, Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of Michigan Municipal League, Jeff Guilfoyle, chief deputy treasurer of the State of Michigan, Julie Bennett, senior vice president of Public Sector Consultants, Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association, and Rep. Jeff Yarock, District 33 of the Michigan House of Representatives.

The leaders talked about the root of Michigan's road problems and laid out options to fix the roads.

"Phase in the gas tax increase slowly over time someway shape or form. Maybe it's not 45 cents at one time. Maybe it's 10 cents a year for 4 years but then slowly eliminate that sales tax one percent at a time over 12 years," Nystrom said.

Michigan is just one of seven states that has a sales tax on gas, but none of that money goes towards the roads.

The gas tax that passed in 2015; half of it was constitutionally dedicated to the roads and the other half was general fund money that had to be debated every year.

The money generated by Whitmer's proposed gas tax will be 100 percent dedicated to roads and bridges.

After the panel, the audience got to complete a question and answer survey. The majority who answered said the gas tax was necessary, but aren't hopeful it will fix the roads. They said it has been an ongoing issue for years and they don't think the 45 cent tax is going to make a difference.

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