TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce last week released a five-part plan with recommendations on how to best generate and distribute new state revenues for road and bridge construction in Michigan.
The chamber’s “2019 Road Funding Principles” calls on state lawmakers to dedicate new fuel taxes or fees to road and bridge construction under regional funding models that are equitable for Northern Michigan.
The chamber's priorities were created as response to renewed calls in Lansing for more dedicated transportation infrastructure revenue — including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 45 cents a gallon to raise an additional $1.5 billion for roads.
It's critical that new and expanded revenue streams for road construction are soundly administered and distributed to ensure northern Michigan receives sufficient funding, said Chamber Government Relations Director Kent Wood.
The chamber’s recommendations include: dedicate new revenue to roads and bridges, ensure some money be spent on rural highways, arterials and connectors; take into account long, cold winters; develop a plan for local roads; address the road construction workforce shortage; and ensure that new road funding doesn't affect Michigan's position at a recent Top 10 state for business tax climate.