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Economists: Budget growth could pump one-time money into roads

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

Economists say Michigan has more than a $200 million budget surplus this year. They say revenues will continue to grow in the coming years as the economy improves.

Republican state lawmakers say that supports their plan to use projected growth in the state budget to fix Michigan’s roads.

“The plan that the Republicans put forward is not a real plan,” said state Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing. “It’s not based on any long-term projections. You get a downturn in the economy and then we’re not funding roads anymore for that year.”

State Budget Director John Roberts is also warning his fellow Republicans  it’s still too early to tell how much money will be available long-term.

“It’s easy to say, hey, we’ve got a little more revenue,” Roberts said. “But it’s going to take us a little bit to build in and say, yes, you’re going to have revenue growth, but what are your cost growths going to look like?”

State budget officials say they’re open to using surplus money for roads. But they say a dedicated source of funding is needed.

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