Republican lawmakers are trying to find ways to raise more money for the roads. But they want to avoid Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent fuel tax increase.
A new idea to raise money to fix the state’s roads involves selling state assets to pay for the infrastructure.
A spending bill (HB 4246) in the state House includes a requirement that the Department of Transportation put together a proposal for the potential sale of multiple assets. The assets include a railroad line, eight welcome centers, the Blue Water Bridge and four airports.
Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) is chair of the House committee in charge of the state budget. He says this is just one option to explore.
“I think it’s appropriate for us to find out, is there interest? What is the value of our assets? And we can’t make decisions going forward if we don’t know those things,” he says.
Representative Matt Maddock (R-Milford) is chair of the House Transportation subcommittee.
“I think we have an obligation to avoid a gas tax increase and I’m willing to look at any option that we have, including selling, perhaps selling a bridge,” says Maddock.
The proposed budget portion passed out of the subcommittee on Thursday.
Opponents say GOP lawmakers don’t even know if it’s possible to sell a bridge that the state owns with Canada, or how much money some of these assets are making for the state.