Higher Gas Taxes Will Help Michigan Build a 21st Century Infrastructure

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In 1997, Dolly was cloned, we were excited by the release of IE 4, and ASCE hadn’t yet released its first Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.  It is also the last time Michigan increased its gas tax to the current 19-cents per gallon.  The diesel tax rate has been in effect since 1984.

The time is now for the state legislature to take action. HB 5477 was approved by the Michigan Senate on November 13th. It’s now the Michigan House’s turn to send this measure to the Governor’s desk.  This bill will gradually increase the fuel tax to 15.5% through 2018.

Governor Rick Snyder (R) has been actively urging the legislature to send him an infrastructure funding bill. The 2009 Michigan Report Card gave the state’s roads and bridges a “D” grade.  While this might be within range of the national average, roads in poor conditions cost the average Michigander about $538.96 in extra vehicle repairs and general operating costs.  This is an almost 10% increase since the 2009 assessment.

If enacted, drivers will see a gradual increase in the state gas tax over the next four years, which results in additional road and transportation project funding.  Michigan needs the additional tax revenue to maintain and improve its roads.   Signing this transportation bill into law would also:

  • The initial 3.5% increase to 9.5% per gallon could result in an immediate $205 million in additional revenue. When the tax is in full effect in January 2019 an estimated $1.25 billion in revenue will be generated.
  • The tax will be calculated based on a flat rate of $2.81 over the next several years rather than being fixed to the consumer price index.  This will help ensure a more steady increase in revenue, at 2% per year for 3 years, through 2019.
  • Anticipated revenue will be allocated to the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) and should only be available to for use on transportation related projects.

ASCE supports increasing funding for operating, maintaining, and improving the  transportation systems.   An increase in Michigan’s gas tax will help the state take a step in the right direction.  While it will not result in “great” roads overnight, it has the potential to make the roads “better” and helps generate the revenue needed to give Michigan the infrastructure system it deserves.

If Michigan wants to “raise the grade” on roads and bridges, it needs to maintain and improve its transportation infrastructure. By increasing its gas tax, Michigan will be able to improve its roads, which will protect public health and safety as well as the economic viability of the state.

Contact your state representative today to make additional funds available to improve transportation infrastructure.

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