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Whitmer says Legislature should return to work on roads

Gretchen Whitmer wearing yellow vest while overseeing road work
Rick Pluta
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has again called on Republican leaders to reconvene the Legislature to wrap up work on a new state budget and a plan to fix the roads.

But GOP leaders say there’s no reason to yet.

Whitmer is visiting roads and bridges around Michigan to show their decrepit state, and the urgent need to fix them.

She stopped Tuesday at a Lansing overpass, where a Michigan Department of Transportation expert handed her a hammer. She tapped to hear the difference between a solid thunk that indicates the safe parts of the structure and the hollow sound that indicates it’s crumbling.

She said bridges are deteriorating faster than state and local road crews can fix them.

“It’s time for us to get a real plan together,” she said, “and get it passed and get it to my desk.”

But the Legislature’s Republican leaders are not on board with Whitmer’s plan to increase fuel taxes. They say they’ll call the Legislature back when they’re close to something worth voting on.

Whitmer says, in that case, Republicans should share an alternative proposal to get the negotiations moving.

Neither Whitmer nor GOP leaders have ruled out a continuation budget if they don’t have a roads deal nailed down by the time the state’s new fiscal year begins October 1. Local governments are also waiting on the state so they can finalize their budgets and their own road-and-bridge repair plans.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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