As gasoline prices continue to rise, with several Marquette County gas stations selling regular unleaded fuel at $3.59 Tuesday, the topic of a Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) proposal to build a gas station in Marquette Township continues to be a topic of discussion.
In a press release issued today by the Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association, the tribal gas station could result in a major financial impact. A loss of up to 63 jobs, $1.25 million in annual wages, almost $11 million in annual in-store sales, and more than $1.7 million annually in state taxes, according to a study released today by Western Michigan University Professor of Economics Dr. Donald Alexander and Keip Government Solutions. In addition, petroleum sales for current retailers in the Marquette area could decline by more than $25 million annually.
Several attempts by ABC 10 to contact KBIC officials Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful. The KBIC, earlier this month, stated its intention to submit a proposal to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to convert land in Marquette County (formerly the Los Tres Amigos site) into land that is held in trust for the benefit of the tribe. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community said those plans in Marquette Township are moving forward.
The study also indicated that the proposed KBIC gas station would also adversely affect tax revenue that supports the state government, local governments, and Michigan public schools. Over the past 12 months, Marquette County petroleum retailers paid $8.4 million in sales tax, $6.2 million of which was allocated to the state School Aid Fund.
The study was commissioned in September 2012 by the Upper Peninsula Petroleum Association which represents 35 petroleum retailers in the Upper Peninsula who operate 90 retail stores and employ approximately 800 people.