Skubick: Roads funding traffic jam may be easing

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – There is renewed optimism at the State Capitol tonight that the governor and lawmakers may be inching toward a deal to fix the roads including a possible five cent a gallon gas tax hike.

Here’s a shocker: The day before his birthday, Gov. Snyder is upbeat about getting a deal to fix the roads. “We’re having constructive discussions, progress is being made in terms of people coming to the table saying how can we get something done on the roads,” says Gov. Snyder.

When asked if he thought a deal would be done in time for his birthday he said he doubted if it would happen that fast.

Key Republican Rep. Peter Pettalia says his voters are ready to raise taxes for the roads. “My constituents have said keep it simple and they are willing to pay more,” he says. “If the gas tax goes up 5 cents that’s 64 cents a week for the average driver in Michigan.”

Meanwhile the House Democratic leader Rep. Tim Greimel is concerned that Republicans want to take $600 million out of state services to go along with a tax hike to get to the $1.2 billion figure.
“The plan so far from the House Republicans and the Senate Republican rely on an unattainable and fiscally irresponsible amount of general fund dollars,” says Rep. Greimel.

Rep. Todd Courser, maybe you have heard of him, was in the chambers ready to oppose a tax hike despite his personal problems. Rep. Courser said “even though in my personal situation, it’s important to take those steps and do the things that I’m responsible to do.”

What is clear is the House will not embrace the 15 cent gas tax hike approved by the Senate. “That’s up for discussion,” explained Sen. Arlan Meekhoff. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Here’s why the House doesn’t like the 15 cent gas tax hike. “I don’t want to be the highest gas tax in the nation,” claims Rep. Rich Outman.

Yet the optimism prevails. When asked if some deal will be reached this week Rep. Jeff Farrington had a one word answer: “Yes.”

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