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Slow start for road funding talks in last week of lame duck

Repair trucks on a Michigan road.
Michigan Municipal League
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

It appears there hasn’t been much progress toward finding a way to boost state road funding in the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders met early on Monday to try to get the discussions rolling in the Legislature’s final week in 2014.

But a compromise plan remains elusive.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says they must reach a deal by Thursday.

“Lame duck is the time for miracles and curses – I just don’t know which one this is,” Richardville told reporters after the meeting.

“I think we’re all in the same camp but we’re in different tents. So, we come out of the tents, sit around the camp fire, and we haven’t started any singing yet.”

The House and Senate have passed dramatically different plans to fix the roads. The Senate and the governor have endorsed raising the state’s gas tax to pay for roads. The House passed legislation that would not raise taxes, but diverts money from schools and communities

State House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, says other legislative leaders and the governor will not back down from raising taxes by more than $1 billion a year.

Richardville says that’s the bare minimum needed to fix the roads.

“It’s a minimum $1.2 billion problem, so negotiating away from that… why would we do that? If we’re going to do it and we’re going to take a hard vote, we’re going to do it the right way,” he said.

Snyder and legislative leaders are expected to meet again on Tuesday to continue the talks.

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