The steam is still shooting out of the ears of  many Calhoun County taxpayers at the Governor's suggestion of an additional 45 cent per gallon tax hike, and now comes word of an even more troubling proposition.  Most, if not almost all of the $2.1 billion generated could go to Detroit area roads, if Governor Whitmer gets her way.

Instead of going into the usual fund for roads, the Governor wants that money deposited into a new fund, so the cash is distributed to reconstruct and maintain the most highly traveled roads. Roads funds have been distributed the same way in Michigan for the past 68 years under Public Act 51. Critics say it's outdated, and disproportionately favors rural roads.

State Budget Director Chris Kolb presented the Governor's budget proposal last week, and it leaves little doubt as to where the road funding tax would go.

 "The new revenue is being aimed at the most heavily traveled roads and most economically important roads in our state, regardless of whether they're a state road or a local road."

Click here to see MDOT's assessment of average daily traffic of Michigan's trunk lines.  The heaviest traffic by far is shown in red, and guess where it is?   The idea has many across the state, outside of southeast Michigan, seeing red.

63rd District State Rep. Matt Hall (R) from Battle Creek has concerns about the plan.

“Some have criticized Public Act 51, but it appears this new formula will take the decision away from the counties for the new revenue and give the decision to the state. This appears to mean less percentage of the dollars coming into our district.”

 

The new money collected from a 45-cents-a-gallon increase would be split as follows, based as a share of line miles:

  • 47 percent to interstates and freeways
  • 30 percent to the most heavily traveled non-freeways
  • 7 percent to highly traveled roads that are mostly locally owned
  • 7 percent to roads that are almost completely under local control and connect to neighborhoods and the local street network
  • 4 percent to local bridges
  • 3 percent for transit, rail and mobility services
  • 2 percent for uniquely significant rural roads that serve major agricultural or manufacturing facilities.

The idea comes from a report from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council.  It found that rural systems have 69 percent of roads and 30 percent of road usage, but the upkeep cost per mile is considerably higher in urban areas.

With cities, counties and townships already struggling to fix roads, the idea of a huge tax increase to fix somebody else's roads has many rural and out-state lawmakers circling the wagons.