Democrats in the state Senate say talks over how to pay to fix Michigan’s roads are “back to square one.”
A legislative work group met for the first time today to find a way to boost state road funding.
The Senate left Lansing in June for its summer break after failing to pass a number of plans to fix the roads.
State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says this is a new starting point.
“We’ve come close to getting the votes necessary to fix this longstanding problem. But quite frankly, we’re looking at all ideas now – newer ideas,” said Richardville. “And we’re not afraid to entertain anything from anyone.”
Senate Democrats want to revisit a plan that would raise the state’s gas tax to increase funding for roads. That plan came closest to winning approval in the Senate in June. But Richardville says that plan is “all but off the table now.”
Robert McCann is a spokesperson for the state Senate Democrats.
“The unfortunate reality of that is that it means we’re still further behind than we were three months ago, really, when there was a plan on the table that our side of the aisle put up votes for,” said McCann. “And, unfortunately, it was the Republicans that couldn’t get their own caucus in place to get that passed.”
Most estimates say Michigan needs to boost infrastructure spending by between $1 billion and $2 billion a year to keep the roads from getting worse.