In his state of the State address Gov. Rick Snyder made a bold proposal for 2013: spike gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to raise $10 billion over the next ten years for road repairs—that’s about $120 dollars a year for the average Michigan motorist.
It’s a big ask, especially with a tax-reluctant republican legislature calling the shots, but Snyder urged that politics be removed from the discussion.
While the governor did not trolley out specifics on the plan—he’ll leave that up to the legislature—he touted the hefty proposal calling it an “investment” and a “money saver” avoiding the word “tax” when possible.
“Let’s be blunt these are about user fees,” he said. “You buy a car, you’re using the roadsState Of The Roads? Snyder’s $10 Billion Ask A “No Brainer”
, you buy gas, you’re using the roads. [We have to ask] Were would we be with this or without it?”
Snyder said his administration has an analysis to find out what the consequences of not spending $1 billion a year for the next decades on the state’s crumbling road infrastructure. He said the findings showed if untended, road repairs in the future could cost the state somewhere “in the range of $25 billion”.
“So this is just like looking at the question of do you get an oil changes on a regular basis or do you wait for an engine re-build?” Snyder said.
“So by investing that money over the next years it will save us 15 billion dollars. That’s gigantic. That’s the first step.”
Snyder highlighted benefits of the proposal other than long-term savings. He said the new taxes would lower the cost of car repairs by about $80 a year, create an estimated 12,00 jobs, and make the roads safer, saving what he calculates to be “nearly 100 lives a year each year”.
The vehicle tax increase was perhaps the heart of the 50-minute speech that touched a broad range of topics including the experimental state-run school district— (the EAA), mental health, public private partnerships, and briefly brushed on the lame duck session’s “divisive times” without mention Right To Work by name.
He closed the speech by returning to his pitch for the steep vehicle tax hike saying the move would have the next generation from spending nearly twice as much on future road repairs across the state.
He asked everyone come together like a big family and “do the right thing.”
“We’re a family of ten million people and we’re sitting around the kitchen table and we saying what’s right for out future. We ‘ve got a chance to make peanuts over the next ten years that would save us [$15 billion], we can save lives, [and] not stick our kids with big bill. This is a no-brainer. This is common sense.”
While a fight is anticipated, Snyder said the use of “relentless positive action” is how the state will move forward.
“ We can decide how long we want to argue or how political we want this to get, or we can use common sense to get it done. This is our opportunity.”