HOUGHTON — There’s no argument—Michigan’s roads and bridges are in bad shape.
But should buyers pay more money in sales tax to fix them? That’s the question that will be put to voters on May 5. Proposal One will raise the sales tax from six to seven percent, as well as increase the cost of gasoline and certain vehicle registrations.
The bulk of the money raised will be used for road and bridge maintenance with funds also going to public schools, local governments,public transit, and an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit.
So, how did the Representative of the 110th District vote on the bill while it was still in the House?
Representative Scott Dianda of Calumet said, “When the bill came through the House, I voted against it because I didn’t want that to be sent to the people. I felt that was our responsibility as the elected officials to be able to take care of the road system and put a package together and vote out of the House and the Senate and send it to the governor.”
Some lawmakers are warning that if Proposal One stalls, there is no Plan B down the road.
Dianda said, “There is a Plan B because we have a lot of people, like myself, that are working on ideas to put on paper to be able to have a bill package. I’m one of those representatives. I think that we’re going to have to take a look at what we’re spending, make some structural changes, take a look at Act 51, enhance the money for the road commissions and the locals and I think that a lot people have other ideas along with myself that make sense.”
If the measure passes, don’t go looking for shiny new roads right away. The State of Michigan has about $800 million in road maintenance debt it needs to pay off first.