Tuesday, March 25, 2014 7:41 AM
Click here for a preview of the week's committee activity!
Sunday, March 23, 2014 10:42 PM
Here's a summary of the bills the House passed this week as well as committee activity.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 7:40 AM
Click here for a preview of the week's committee activity.
Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:32 PM
House, Senate Approve Supplemental Road Funding
Whether you’re driving to work, the grocery store, or dropping the kids off at school, it is pretty obvious that action is needed to improve efforts to maintain and repair Michigan’s roads. Many miles of state and local roads are falling into disrepair – and many more will do so if the problem is not addressed. The record cold and snowfall we have all experienced this winter are certainly not helping the problem either. Besides the seemingly relentless snow that we have needed to scrape off of our cars on more mornings than we would care to count, the harsh winter has been source of great financial strain on local road agencies. The frequency and severity of snow and frigid cold means greater use of salt and road crews and that, come spring, there will be many more potholes and damaged stretches of road that need to be repaired.
This week, the legislature made a step toward solving the problem. After extensive negotiations between the State House and State Senate, both chambers agreed to a supplemental spending bill to address some of the road maintenance costs that have resulted from the winter weather and set aside money for specific projects such as repaving roads and repairing damaged bridges. In total, the bill provides $215 million for road repairs and maintenance. $100 million allocated in the proposal will be distributed across state, county, and local road agencies. Ingham County is set to receive about $795,000 for its winter maintenance. $115 million is set aside for specific projects to be selected by the legislature. Project proposals submitted by members of the House and Senate each total about $800 million. Any portion of the $115 million not allocated by July 1 will be distributed to state, county, and local road agencies in the same manner as the $100 million portion of the bill.
The road to the bill’s passage was paved by compromise between both chambers of the state legislature. After each chamber passed its own version last week, this week they worked out the differences in a conference committee and were able to pass the compromise bill with broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Even though the supplemental funding allocated will do a lot of good for communities across the state, it is not a comprehensive or long term remedy for damaged roads and bridges. It is my hope that this proposal will lay the groundwork for greater cooperation in Lansing and spur the legislature to find a comprehensive solution to the problems facing Michigan’s transportation and infrastructure.
Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:13 PM
Click here for a summary of the votes the legislature took this week.