MDOT Director: We need a fuel tax increase—or a better idea—to fix roads

May 29, 2019
Originally published on May 30, 2019 3:53 pm

State officials say they need to spend $2.5 billion dollars more each year to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges. Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to raise the money by increasing the fuel tax by 45 cents a gallon.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Transportation have been pushing for the fuel tax increase. 

"We did not get here overnight," Paul Ajegba, Director of MDOT, told Stateside. "This is 40 years of a disinvestment in the making. We've dug ourselves a huge hole and it's going to take a lot to climb out of it."

A recent poll from the Center for Michigan found three-quarters of people surveyed do not want the 45 cent fuel tax increase.

"The governor's plan, the beauty of it is that she had said, this is my plan, this is my idea, anybody has a better idea on how to raise the 2.5 billion dollars to fix the roads, put it on the table and let's have the discussion," Ajegba said. 

Ajegba said he's not waiting for better ideas, however, when it comes to fixing the state's bridges, many of which are also in disrepair. 

"What MDOT has decided to do is, these bridges, we're going to bundle them up together, and then we're going to bond for them and put them out for bid," he said. 

According to Ajegba, Michigan's roadways and bridges are the backbones to the state's economy. He indicated that it was our generation's charge to keep them maintained for the next generation.

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