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Lawmakers and drivers weigh in on new budget plan

Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 05:44:15-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield tells Fox 47, the governor's office came to Republican leadership over the weekend and asked if they could issue the joint statement saying they'd negotiate a budget now and do roads later.

It came as a surprise to many.

"I wasn't aware it was going to come out beforehand but I trust the Governor completely," said State Representative Angela Witwer (D).

A change in course from Governor Gretchen Whitmer on road funding. A statement was sent out early Monday morning signaling a potential new budget deal with Republican lawmakers.

"It's not fun to be the adult in the room sometimes, but the fact of the matter is we've got important work to do in keeping the state of Michigan open and running," said Governor Whitmer.

Her tone on Monday very different from the tone she delivered less than two weeks ago on Aug. 28.

“I'm not going to negotiate with myself. I put a plan on the table," is what Governor Whitmer said to the press back then.

Republican leadership did not tell FOX 47 News why or how the change came, just that the governor's original road plan was not the way to go.

"We're going to build on that foundation in the coming months to ensure we have a long term road solution but right now we're going to focus on getting the budget done by September 30 and ensuring that our schools and roads both receive record funding,” said House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

Governor Whitmer, after an event in Grand Rapids later on Monday, said she wanted to avoid a shutdown.

"It is abundantly clear to me that there are some people that want a shutdown,” said Governor Whitmer to media. “It is abundantly clear to me that there are some that don't want to put real solutions for roads on the table and be serious about it."

Still, some Democratic lawmakers say the time for road funding is now.

“We’ve been kicking this can down the road for far too long and it’s time for the legislature to do its job,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr (D).

Michigan drivers also weigh in on the issue.

"She was the fix the damn roads lady, yeah that's what she was saying,” said Drew Linacre. "I guess it's kinda like H.W. Bush with the ‘read my lips no new taxes’ and I guess they do tend to go back on that stuff a lot."

For voters and drivers, time is of the essence.

"We're in a crisis right now with our roads they need to be fixed," said driver Beth Vanderlip.

Governor Whitmer says road funding will happen and talks about how to move forward will continue after the budget gets approved.

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