Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

June 15, 2014

George Weeks: Reflections on incentives, highway fixes

Go figure. The GOP-ruled Legislature last week passed a budget that included more money than Republican Gov. Rick Snyder wanted as incentives for Hollywood to film in Michigan but recessed without acting on what he sought to fix Michigan’s deplorable pothole-ridden highways.

Before leaving for their 12-week summer break, lawmakers sent Snyder a $37.4 billion budget that includes $50 million for film incentives (he recommended $25 million). But they left without acting on his far more important $1.2 billion plan for repairing and maintaining highways.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said it well about roads: “It’s a difficult vote. But sooner or later, you have to bite the bullet and do the difficult things.” Snyder remains hopeful that his party will do the difficult thing.

As reported by The Detroit News, Snyder said the spirited debate among lawmakers on how to better fund road repairs shows “progress is being made” on an issue atop his agenda.

“So let’s look at the positive side — we’ve moved closer to getting a long-term solution in place.”

Not surprisingly, Democratic State Chairman Lon Johnson looked at the negative side, lamenting “continued failure of Lansing Republicans to take any action on fixing our roads.” He said Friday:

“Instead of taking action and fix the roads for Michigan drivers and businesses, Republican Gov. Snyder jetted off to New York twice in the last week, for a fundraiser with billionaire Michael Bloomberg and an interview with Fox news.

“The failure to take any action on fixing Michigan’s roads demonstrates an incredible lack of leadership, and falls squarely on Republicans in Lansing. The only winners in this week’s embarrassing, failing display are the auto mechanics fixing the damages to our cars caused by our horrible roads.”

Snyder may be right — I believe he is — wthat a long-term solution could emerge when the Legislature resumes after the recess.

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