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Now That Prop 1 Has Failed, Where Do We Go From Here?

John Tramontana

By John Tramontana, MASB Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, May 6, 2015

It’s back to the drawing board for the state Legislature now that voters have rejected Proposal 1. The ballot initiative would have collected about $1.8 billion in new revenue to fix Michigan’s roads and invest in public education, local governments and provide a tax cut for low income families by raising the sales tax from six to seven percent. 

But with that plan off the table, what happens now? In 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a plan that would raise money through an increased gas tax and higher registration fees. On Tuesday night, he said he would be open to revisiting that plan.

Others in the Legislature are pushing for a cuts-only approach. David Waymire, spokesperson for the Safe Roads Yes campaign, said that won’t work. 

“There is no responsible plan that can find $1 billion worth of cuts in our $10 billion general fund to fix our roads. It simply isn’t there,” Waymire said. “And $1 billion is the minimum we need to sort of bend the cost curve back to get ahead of the deterioration of our roads.”

Whatever Plan B may entail, MASB is strongly advocating that no money be taken from the School Aid Fund to pay for road repairs.

“It shouldn’t be a question of one or the other,” said MASB Executive Director Kathy Hayes. “You won’t find many people who think we don’t need to fix our roads. But there aren’t too many people out there who think we should fix them at the expense of our kids and public education either. We need a solution that doesn’t force more cuts on our school districts. MASB will not support any plan that hurts our kids."

Gov. Snyder said even if the Legislature were to act quickly to find a solution, Michigan will most likely miss out on the summer construction season, forcing the cost of repairs even higher. 

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