Two state senators publicly debate road funding plans

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Two senators gave the public a taste of where lawmakers stand when it comes to fixing Michigan’s roads.

Our Christa Lamendola says senators on both sides of the aisle debated the question of new taxes to pay for a road funding plan.

“We all agree that we need a sustainable solution for Michigan’s roads.”

One Republican, one Democrat sat down for a good ol’ fashioned debate.

And while Republican State Senator Patrick Colbeck and Democratic State Senator Curtis Hertel both agree the roads need some TLC, there wasn’t much movement on if new taxes should pay for them.

“We don’t need to raise taxes, we can work within existing funds. To put that into context, when I started five years ago our budget was $46.8 billion. The latest one we have is around $54.5 billion,” said Colbeck.

But Senator Curtis Hertel says before he considers no taxes, he wants to know what will be cut.

“Are we willing to take autistic kids… Uh funding from autistic kids to actually cover it’s $12 million so uh 12 miles of road?” said Hertel.

Senator Colbeck furthered discussion saying he believes the government is too big, and the state could save money by exploring a company which offers new road construction technology and costs less.

”Anything from 10-15 percent more, he could put he could put in a cement hydration catalyst and a sealant which would actually improve the life of our roads up to four times,” said Colbeck.

“I did some research on this company as well they mostly are doing driveways and some neighborhood roads but the actual on highways it has not been tested,” said Hertel.

But between the two who won the debate? That depends on who you ask.

“I think it was clear we presented a…. First we got them on two different options, we got common ground on the fact that we’re not trying to solve a $1.2 billion a year increase problem what we’re trying to do is find a way to fix the roads,” said Colbeck.

“The people of Michigan are still losing we’re still sitting in Lansing and not actually solving the real problem,” said Hertel.

Other topics of debate were over prevailing wage, the quality of the work, and the sustainability of road funding plans.

So…the debate continues.

 

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