Lawmakers and industry advocates are scrambling to find support for the measure, which would spike the current gas tax of 19 cents to 27 cents. Half of the increase would take affect once the move is approved, with the other half kicking in during 2013. The tax on diesel would expand from 15 to 27 cents over the next four years. A decline in gas-tax receipts is putting Michigan in danger of being unable to match federal funding.
Right out of the blocks, the move would create $240 million a year, with that amount increasing to $480 million once the bill hits its stride.
Without the gas-tax increase, the Michigan Transportation Commission revealed an updated five-year plan that shows the 243 cut in construction activity.
“We believe this dilemma, this tragedy that we are facing here in Michigan, will hopefully cause our state-elected officials to wake up to the fact that this needs to be a top priority . . . in order to turn our economy around,” Mike Nystrom, a lobbyist for the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, told mlive.com.
The Michigan DOT also will press state lawmakers to double vehicle registration fees over the next five years, which would produce an additional $900 million.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a new jobs bill last month which temporarily eliminates the matching requirement. If the Senate copies the maneuver in its measure then Michigan would not find itself in quite a hole when it comes to road and bridge funding. However, industry leaders in the state do not want to see the Michigan legislature depend on actions on Capitol Hill.