Michigan’s roads are in bad shape. If you drive on the roads or talk to an agitated driver it’s easy to tell. Sadly, the only people in Michigan that seem to think that fixing our roads is no big deal are the same people that have the power to fix them. Last week, conservatives in Lansing skipped town for a three-month vacation without taking action to repair our roads and bridges.
Today, Todd Heywood blogs about his up-close-and-personal experience with one of Michigan’s many potholes. Read Todd’s story below and then take action and sign our petition to demand that Governor Snyder call the legislature back from vacation for a special session to fix the roads.
Potholes or Progress
by guest blogger Todd Heywood
So here is a question: Is it possible that the failure of Michigan’s GOP-controlled legislature to find a road funding solution is actually the Republican’s secret economic stimulus plan?
I am serious on this question. On Sunday, my Chevy Aveo hit a pothole. Said pothole, on a state road, caused my front right rim to crumple in a spot. This of course led to a slow leak. It cost me $50 to have the steel rim bent back into place; and I lost two hours of work time while I waited for the repair at my local mechanic’s shop. Yes, $50 is not what it would have cost me to replace a rim entirely, but it is still $50 out of my already exceedingly tight budget that I had not planned to spend.
How’s this an economic stimulus plan, you are probably asking. Well, my local mechanic said he is doing three or four of these a day – sometimes complete rim replacements, sometimes crack repair which requires welding, and some just like mine, bending the thing back in place. But let’s assume, just for argument’s sake that it’s $50 for each tire the mechanic fixes. That works out to be over $1,000 a week in income for this mechanic. That’s $52,000 a year in one location, in one city, for one business. And remember there is a six percent state sales tax on top of that. Now, add that up to every mechanic in Michigan, and you are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending by residents on unexpected, unbudgeted costs.
The Michigan Republican economic stimulus plan is unveiled.
It is unacceptable that Gov. Rick Snyder has declared road and infrastructure repair a top administrative agenda item, yet his own party, controlling both chambers of the legislature, has been unable and unwilling to pass any funding solutions. In fact, despite this being a three year long conversation, the legislature didn’t bother to have an actual discussion about road funding until two days before they were off for their month long summer vacation.
In fairness, those vacations are complicated by the fact this legislature is up for re-election. No one in the Gov’s party who is facing re-election wants to be saddled with a vote to increase taxes – no matter how important raising that revenue is. Doing so will result in a Tea Party challenge.
It’s time for Snyder to demand his party put election concerns aside, and call a special session of the legislature to address road funding. He has the constitutional authority to do so; and the citizens can’t afford to wait months more before a funding solution is found. So here’s the question: Is road funding really on the governor’s agenda, or it is just relentless positive bloviating?