"Don't take from our kids to fix Michigan's roads" Petition Circulating in Response to Road Funding Plan

LANSING - Michigan law makers are currently involved in a lame duck session. One of the biggest issues being discussed is road funding.

On December 4th the state House voted to divert $1.2 billion in sales tax revenue from fuel sales. The revenue will be taken from schools and cities and dedicated to road repairs. The "Bolger Plan" put forth by speaker Jase Bolger differs from a plan previously proposed.

The state Senate passed a road funding plan in November that would raise around $1 billion for roads by roughly doubling gas taxes over a four year span. Under the Senate plan, fuel taxes could potentially top 43 cents by 2018.

If the Legislature does not pass a plan this week before breaking for the holidays, work on a deal would have to start over with a new Legislature in January.

John Niemela, Vice Chairman for the Complete Streets Advisory Council, is optimistic that legislature regarding Michigan roads may be passed during this year.

"It's has become a high priority and both the House and Senate have legislation that would provide additional funding for transportation related activities so for all of the folks involved in transportation, its a big deal right now," said Niemela.

A petition was created on MoveOn.org called "Don't take from our kids to fix Michigan's roads". The petition with more than 2,000 signatures was sent to Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders as a response to the state House road funding plan. The Michigan League for Public Policy stated the state Senate plan is a better option and will not take from kids to fix the roads.

The Michigan Association of School Board estimates that the diversion, if approved, would cost $475 per student per year on average. According to those numbers, it is estimated the plan would cost Okemos Public Schools $1,898,575.00 per year and Haslett Public Schools $1,298,175.00 per year.

The roads bills are now in a conference committee, which has six members. To get bills out of conference committee, two votes from each chamber is needed. Once a bill comes out of conference committee, it faces up or down votes in each chamber, with no amendments permitted.

At this time a road funding deal has not yet been made.

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